Blair: Netanyahu Wants to Build Palestinian State 'From Bottom Up'

Mideast envoy to TIME: Netanyahu wants to defer talks on borders, settlements and Jerusalem.

Middle East envoy Tony Blair stated in an interview in the current edition of Time Magazine that in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier suggested to Blair that a Palestinian state be established from the bottom up.

Blair said that Netanyahu's plan calls for the question of the borders of the Palestinian state and the fate of Jewish settlements and Jerusalem to be deferred to the final stage. The first step would concentrate on the consolidation of Palestinian institutions, strengthening security forces and reconstruction of the economy in the territories. Netanyahu reportedly is not opposed to the Palestinian Authority assuming attributes of statehood at this stage.

Blair indicated that a peace process committed to a two-state solution is one of three conditions necessary for ending the conflict in the region, and noted in the Time interview that the other conditions are drafting a plan to change conditions in the West Bank and the easing of the closure on the Gaza Strip.