Monday, April 19, 2004

Blair's Not Toeing the Company Line

If he's not careful, he won't get any more trips to Crawford:

"Tony Blair distanced himself from Washington yesterday by pointedly condemning the Israeli assassination of the Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, at the weekend.

George Bush's administration refused to criticise the killing and said Israel had a right of self-defence.

Mr Blair told parliament: 'We condemn the targeted assassination of Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al Rantissi just as we condemn all terrorism including that perpetrated by Hamas.' While Mr Blair in the past has been quick to condemn Palestinian suicide bombings against Israel, he has been less ready to criticise action against Palestinians.

What makes Mr Blair's intervention even more stark is that it is made on behalf of the leader of an organisation that has launched hundreds of suicide attacks against Israel over the last four years."

Mr Blair could easily have opted, as he has done in the past, to have left the criticism to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, who at the weekend condemned the assassination.

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