- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 2, 2010

JERUSALEM (AP) — International Mideast envoy Tony Blair on Wednesday said that the 3-year blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza has been counterproductive but that the policy is difficult to change because of strong Israeli objections.

Mr. Blair, a former British prime minister, also said in an interview that the raid earlier this week on a Gaza-bound ship was a reminder that Gaza cannot be ignored as the West tries to broker a peace deal between Israel and Hamas’ moderate rivals in the West Bank.

Mr. Blair said the international community’s demand to allow more goods into Gaza has been “a matter of strong disagreement with Israel.”

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after Hamas violently seized power in Gaza in 2007. Israel allows in only basic humanitarian supplies.

Mr. Blair said many more goods must be allowed in.

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