Mediators have many tasks that they have to juggle. They must seek to understand the causes of the conflict, monitor the state of the relationships, keep an eye on process and background legalities, and facilitate the generation of compromise positions.

But they have one other duty above all else, which is that they must remain neutral. If they are not perceived as neutral then they cannot possibly succeed, Only if both parties trust the mediator can the mediator influence the outcome – otherwise the parties will not share their secret hopes and fears, and reveal the areas where they may be prepared to compromise.

Tony Blair was always a curious choice as a Middle Eastern peace envoy, given that he is chiefly remembered for allegedly misleading his country into fighting a bloody war in the Middle East, in Iraq. It felt almost as though Gordon Brown was determined to shunt him off as far as possible from either domestic politics or Blair’s own comfort zone.

Blair’s own apparent relentless pursuit of financial gain since he left office also counts against him in establishing his credentials as a neutral. He has a £2 million a year contract with JP Morgan, and has been accused of championing clients of JP Morgan in two large business deals in the West Bank involving telecoms and gas. How can he be a credible member of the mediating Quartet, critics say, if he puts his own financial interests first?

Now it is suggested by the Palestinians (in this article in the that he lobbied against them among European powers prior to their UN application for statehood, with officials like Nabi Shaath calling him “an Israeli Diplomat”.

There are many obstacles to Middle East peace, and many uncertainties – but one thing is for sure – there is no chance for a Mediator who is not trusted by both sides. It may well be that these allegations are not true, but the damage is done simply by virtue of the fact that such allegations exist. If you Google Tony Blair’s name the 6th entry that comes up on Google search is “Tony Blair – anti Christ”….enough said!