France’s outgoing ambassador to US Gérard Araud has said Trump’s deal of the century would be “very close to what the Israelis want” and is 99 per cent “doomed to fail.”
In an interview with The Atlantic magazine published on Friday, Araud said: “But 1 per cent, you never forget the 1 per cent, Trump is uniquely able to push the Israelis, because he is so popular in Israel.”
Araud, who served as France’s ambassador to Israel from 2003 to 2006, said he is “very close” to and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, whom he described as “extremely smart, but he has no guts.” Araud has served as French ambassador to Washington since 2014 and is retiring.
Kushner, Araud stressed, “doesn’t know the history” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “and in a sense, it’s good — we are not here to say who is right, who is wrong; we are trying to find a way [toward a solution].”
“So in a sense, I like it, but at the same time he 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,” he asserted.
Araud told the magazine that the White House was counting on three factors when it comes to the peace plan. The first is Trump’s popularity in Israel.
“Trump, he said, is more popular than [Benjamin] Netanyahu in Israel, so the Israelis trust him. That’s the first bet, Kushner told me. The second is that the Palestinians may consider it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty. And the third element is Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians. Don’t forget, the Arabs are behind the Americans. The plan is 50 pages, we were told, very precise; we don’t know what is in the plan. But we’ll see,” he said.
Araud added that “the disproportion of power is such between the two sides that the strongest [Israel] may conclude that they have no interest to make concessions.”
Israel is “extremely comfortable” with the status quo, he said, “because they [can] have the cake and eat it. They have the West Bank, but at the same time they don’t have to make the painful decision about the Palestinians, really making them really, totally stateless or making them citizens of Israel.
“They won’t make them 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,” he claimed.
The details of the Trump plan have been kept under wraps, but rumors of its content have swirled, particularly on social media.
Last week, Kushner said the plan will not be unveiled until June at the earliest. Kushner told some 100 foreign diplomats the plan will be rolled out after the new Israeli government is sworn in and following the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends June 5.
He urged them to keep an “open mind,” according to a source cited by Reuters.
The Atlantic Magazine