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Tony Blair Resigns as Peace Envoy on Day of Queen's Speech - A Good Day to Bury Bad News?

28/05/2015 17:07 BST | Updated 28/05/2016 10:59 BST

Tony Blair resigned as Middle East peace envoy yesterday. It was a perfectly timed resignation - just after the Queen's Speech at the state opening of parliament when all the political writers were busy writing about the Tories' plans for government for the next five years.

The lucky break of the Fifa corruption story also breaking on the same day meant that coverage of his resignation was unlikely to hit the front pages of any national daily newspaper. With the exception of the Financial Times the plan worked.

The FT raised the issue of the "rising unease" regarding Blair's business consultancy clients in the region which could lead to accusations of a conflict of interests with his role for the Quartet. Tony Blair Associates has had several lucrative contracts in the region including JP Morgan, the Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala and PetroSaudi, an oil group linked to the Saudi royals.

The article went on to say that the economic development of Palestinian territories (Blair's main brief) had failed to be improved in the past eight years. That is certainly the case and over 80% of the population of Palestine are still reliant on foreign aid for survival.

Clearly we can't lay all the blame for this solely at Tony Blair's doorstep but many senior Palestinian Authority figures thought he was too keen to seek favour with the Israelis and didn't push them hard enough towards the creation of a two-state solution.

This is the key to a lasting settlement in the region and it is not possible for the Palestinian economy to grow whilst it is an occupied territory. There are still over 500 road-blocks in the West Bank and in 2012 retrospective legislation was granted by Nentanyahu's government for 10 new outposts, and there are now 121 settlements "officially" recognised and policed by the Israeli Defence Force.

All these moves by the Israelis went on without any noticeable criticism from Blair, either publicly or privately. His seeming lack of resistance to the Nethanyahu's government on these points and the fact that this was only a part-time role - he was in Jerusalem for about three days a month - caused a growing rift between Blair and several senior Palestinians, including Mahmoud Abbas, so much so that at one point they even considered making him persona non grata.

The calls for his resignation in the past year have been growing and growing and yesterday he finally recognized that his position was now untenable. Blair has said he would continue to assist in the region but without any formal role.

What the Quartet really need is a lower profile figure on a full-time basis, who has no allegiance to either side of vested interests in this region. Their primary goal and that of the Quartet must be to achieve the creation of a two state solution. Without this there won't be any economic improvement in the lives of Palestinians and no chance of lasting peace.

Sayed Bukhari lives in London and is CEO of property development company HPM Developments