While Araud has been characterized for his “bluntness,” he is a member of the Western political elite that has long shielded Israeli apartheid from scrutiny.
By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | Apr 22, 2019
‘[Israel] won’t make them [Palestinians] citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.’
— Outgoing French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud
In an interview with The Atlantic last Friday, outgoing French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud made headlines after emphatically stating that Israel is already “an apartheid state” and that the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century” aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict is “99 percent doomed.”
Araud — whose first government post was in France’s Tel Aviv embassy, and who was the French ambassador to Israel from 2003 to 2006 — made the claim after being asked about his views on the Israel-Palestine “peace process.” 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.
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 their last chance to get limited sovereignty,” while the third element of the plan is “Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians.”