TONY Blair was right to say yesterday that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of the year is possible “if people want to make it happen”. But a lot of people will not want it to happen unless the deal covers all the outstanding issues that have defied solution for the past 50 years and, especially, since the road map to peace was so optimistically launched by President Bush in 2003. A peace deal that does not cover all these issues, among them Israeli settlements, borders, East Jerusalem, the return of refugees and Palestian militia attacks (and Gaza!), will be worse than useless. Meanwhile, it is worth asking where Mr Blair's main interests lie now. Officially he is an “envoy” of the Quartet - the group of representatives of the US, Russia, EU and UN set up to oversee the implementation of the aforementioned road map. It is said that Mr Blair is being paid only expenses for this work but he has just arranged a contract with the US investment bank J P Morgan Chase worth 500'000 pounds a year for part time “strategic advice and insight”. Is there not a conflict of interest here? Mr Blair's role with the Quartet is the building of Palestinian industrial and commercial infrastructure. Has J P Morgan Chase no interest in this area or in those parts of the British economy of which Mr Blair has a special and recent knowledge?


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