Hamas, the Palestinian group now in control of Gaza, blasted Tony Blair's appointment as a Mideast peace envoy yesterday, characterizing the former British prime minister as "not honest and not helpful," and a puppet of the US and Israel, the BBC reports. Blair's new role, formalized hours after he departed 10 Downing Street, has been hailed by Israel and the Fatah-contolled Palestinian Authority.
Blair, who will represent the US, Russia, the UN and EU, will focus first on organizing international assistance to the Authority and help build its government agencies. The US played down expectations of a quick fix. "He's not superman, doesn't have a cape," said a White House spokesman.