Blair Floats Palestinian Jobs Plan

Mideast envoy offers 'quick impact project' ahead of Annapolis summit
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Nov 19, 2007 11:00 AM CST
Middle East envoy Tony Blair, left, gestures during a joint press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, right, and France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, not seen, at Fayyad's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In his first major undertaking as the international community's Mideast envoy, Tony Blair will disclose plans today to provide tens of thousands of jobs for Palestinians, the Guardian reports. The multimillion-dollar projects come in the lead-up to the peace talks in Annapolis next week. "This is part of the Blair mandate to find 'quick impact projects,'" said a British official.

The projects, which Blair describes as "designed to give some sense things could change on the ground," will likely include a trade park and road construction in the West Bank. That represents a possible work-around for Israeli checkpoints that impede commerce in the occupied territories. Another potential project is a sewage system in Gaza; how that will sit with Hamas, which controls the area, is unclear.