Statement from Tony Blair following his attendance at the White House ceremony where representatives from Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an agreement to normalise relations:
“For many years I and my Institute team have worked on deepening relationships between Israel and the Arab world. I had long come to the conclusion that if we want to see a fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the basis of two states, there had to be a complete reversal of the idea that the Arab world should refuse contact with Israel, until a peace agreement was made.
“In addition, it was obvious as the Middle East sought a way forward to modern societies based on religious and cultural tolerance and co-existence, and modern economies based on diversification, the embrace of technology and high standards of education, Israel and the Arab nations like the UAE had a huge amount to gain by working together.
“These landmark agreements therefore are important in their own right; but are also a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region in a way consistent with the only future for the Middle East which works.
“I know and understand the objections of the Palestinian leadership to what has been agreed. But I believe in time the Palestinian people will understand that it is only by radically changing strategy that the legitimate aspirations for a viable Palestinian State can be realised.”