Blair acted as a "defence attorney" for the Israelis during a debate within the Quartet in July, when its partners – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – were unable to agree on a statement on the outlines of a return to peace talks. This, Shaath said, gave cause for "serious doubt that he could carry on his duties" as a neutral. He described Blair as "a personal friend, a brilliant man, extremely intelligent, with an important record of achievement, at least in his early years".
When he took on the role of Quartet envoy, "we thought he would be a real support to the Palestinians. But he gradually reduced his role to that of asking the Israelis to take down a barrier here or a barrier there… He really escaped all the political requirements of his job as representative of the Quartet."