Tony Blair moving Quartet office in E. Jerusalem

A reliable source has indicated that Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister who is now the part-time Special Middle East Envoy of the Quartet, is moving his office out of the legendary American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem.

Blair’s presence — and its overbearing security requirements — has contributed to ruining the American Colony Hotel’s former unique atmosphere as the meeting place for Palestinian political and economic notables with international visitors and the occasional Israeli official.

The American Colony — now a five-star establishment, one of the Leading Hotels in the World, run by Swiss hotel management — is also now too expensive for most Palestinians, who have moved en masse up the road and up the hill to the Ambassador Hotel, where le-tout-jerusalem-est can now be seen doing business throughout the day and evening [nobody stays up late in East Jerusalem, where there is no night life, but insomniacs].

[The American Colony has managed to fill the void by receiving the Shabbat weekend business of nouveau riche Israeli businessmen and their highly made-up fertility goddess wives in skin tight clothes, who feel safe enough there despite the titillatingly exotic location, and who do enjoy the buffets. The late-Ottoman-era central courtyard with bubbling fountain and lemon trees, and the summer garden with tall palm trees and a grassy lawn remain popular places to sit and relax, despite the change in clientele.]

Now that Blair has ruined the American Colony, he’s following the Palestinian notables up the road and up the hill to a new building, constructed by a member of the Nashashibi family, just below the Ambassador Hotel on Nablus Road.

There goes the neighborhood.

Continue reading Tony Blair moving Quartet office in E. Jerusalem

Shocking – Blair to work part time for investment bank while remaining Quartet envoy

Well, now the truth is laid bare. AP reported today that “Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has accepted a part-time job as strategic adviser to the JP Morgan Chase and Co. bank, but it will not affect his work as an international Mideast peace envoy, a Blair spokeswoman in Israel said Thursday. As the representative of the Quartet of Mideast peace negotiators – the US, European Union, UN and Russia – Blair’s mandate is to help the Palestinians build up their economy and governing bodies in preparation for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Spokeswoman Ruti Winterstein said Blair would advise JPMorgan’s senior management team, ‘drawing on his international experience, and provide strategic advice and provide insights on global issues’. The appointment, effective Thursday, will be the only banking commitment Blair will take, and will not infringe on his Quartet duties, Winterstein said. ‘He will continue as Quartet representative in the exact way, with the same level of commitment and time input’, she said”. This AP report was published today in Haaretz here.

This is truly shocking. Is Blair bored? Trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not enough to keep his attention, or to keep him busy? He needs to work for an investment bank as well?

Or, does he think his days as Quartet special envoy are numbered?

U.S. President George W. Bush said today, in a press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, that “I’m looking forward to seeing Tony Blair tomorrow, who is the Quartet’s representative, and to find out what he has been doing [now, we have a fuller idea of what he’s been doing, including arranging lucrative part-time investment banking work] and what progress is being made”.