Alwaght- Outgoing French Ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, criticized Israel I regime as an “apartheid state”, adding that US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” aimed at resolving the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, looks dead in the water.
Araud, whose first government post was in France’s Tel Aviv embassy, and who was the French ambassador to Israel from 2003 to 2006, in a farewell interview with the Atlantic magazine on Friday said "They [Israelis] won’t make them [Palestinians] citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already."
Touching on Donald Trump's secret plan, dubbed as Deal of the Century, the French envoy suggested the plan was 99 percent “doomed to fail".
After stating that he enjoys a “close” relationship with Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law who has spent the last two years drafting a “peace plan” for the Trump administration — Araud noted that Kushner’s “proposal is very close to what the Israelis want.”
This outcome has long been noted by many media outlets based on Kushner’s close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; his family’s role in funding illegal West Bank settlements; and, more recently, statements made by those familiar with the negotiations and the fact that the Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Kushner’s team since the Trump administration decreed Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital in December 2017.
Araud, who first became France’s ambassador to the U.S. in 2014, later described Kushner as “extremely smart, but he has no guts. He doesn’t know the history.” While Araud posited that there may be an advantage to not knowing the history of the conflict, he also noted that it was a double-edged sword, stating:
[Kushner] is so rational, and he is so pro-Israeli also, that he may neglect the point that if you offer the Palestinians the choice between surrendering and committing suicide, they may decide the latter. Somebody like Kushner doesn’t understand that.”
Like other politicians who have recently spoken about the “peace plan,” Araud has not seen the plan but was told that it was around 50 pages and very “precise.” Yet, drawing on his closeness to Kushner, Araud stated that the plan had been created based on three assumptions or “bets” made by Kushner, the first of which was that Trump would be “uniquely able to push the Israelis, because he is so popular in Israel.” The second bet, according to Araud, was that “the Palestinians may consider it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty,” while the third element of the plan is “Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians.”
Assessing the so called deal of the century, the French politician said that the plan was almost guaranteed to fail: “Is it doomed to fail? I should say 99 percent yes, but 1 percent, you never forget the 1 percent.”
Araud also raised the point that Israeli regime, despite all the concessions it has received from the Trump administration, would be uninterested in making any concessions, no matter how minor, as part of Kushner’s “peace plan”:
The problem is that the disproportion of power is such between the two sides that the strongest may conclude that they have no interest to make concessions… The status quo is extremely comfortable for Israel. Because they [can] have the cake and eat it.”