Palestinian Living Standards Vital for Peace

Palestinian Living Standards Vital for PeacePalestinian Living Standards Vital for Peace

Any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal must lead to improved living conditions for Palestinians to prevent violence between the two from erupting again, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Sunday.

“The last conflict left Gaza devastated and its people more impoverished,” Blair said in Gaza, the site of the July-August war between Israel and Palestinians.

“I am extremely concerned that, if we leave Gaza in the state it is in, you have another eruption in violence and then we are back into a further catastrophe,” Blair added, Reuters reported.

He said a successful peace drive required “a broad and a profound improvement in the daily life of Palestinians ... unified Palestinian politics ... an enhanced role for the region in alliance with the international community.”

Blair, envoy of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States -- the so-called Quartet -- said that only with a unified Palestinian political stance could the international community “promote reconciliation alongside reconstruction.”

The controversial premier himself has come under severe criticism over the years for his strong pro-Israeli stances both during and after leaving office.