The U.S. and Israel are pressuring Tony Blair to become the “quartet’s” (that would be the U.S., the EU, the U.N. and Russia) Mideast envoy, because he’s already done such a bang-up job soothing tensions in the Arab world. But Blair might not be interested since President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would want to limit his scope to setting up a functioning Palestinian state.


New York Times:

The appointment would be the most visible attempt at laying the groundwork for a Palestinian state since President Bill Clinton wrangled during the waning hours of his administration in 2001 with the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel.

If the proposal endorsed by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice goes forward, Mr. Blair would represent the United States, European Union, the United Nations and Russia — known as the “quartet” — in working with Palestinian officials to build the institutions and apparatus necessary for a viable state. The proposal shows the renewed urgency in the international attempts to deal with the crisis in the Palestinian territories, where the Hamas faction has fought its way to ascendancy in Gaza and the Fatah faction under the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has set up a provisional government in the West Bank.

Mr. Bush has spoken to Mr. Blair about the proposal, and discussed it on Tuesday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, Bush administration and Israeli officials said. Senior Israeli officials said Mr. Olmert was very keen on the idea.

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