French envoy: Trump peace plan close to Israeli position, doomed to fail
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets US President Donald Trump; Psychology Prof. Shaul Kimhi of Tel Hai College notes Netanyahu’s ‘ability to mobilize his supporters,’ a trait he says that also characterizes Trump
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
"Everywhere in the history of mankind, when there is a negotiation between two sides, the more powerful [party] is imposing terms on the weaker party. That’s the basis of Jared Kushner’s [plan]."
Trump’s peace plan is close to what the Israelis want and doomed to fail, outgoing French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud told The Atlantic magazine in an interview it published on Friday.
“It will be a proposal very close to what the Israelis want. Is it doomed to fail? I should say 99 percent yes, but 1 percent, you never forget the 1 percent,” Araud told The Atlantic as he wrapped up five years in Washington.
He explained to the magazine that he was close to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is one of the author’s of the plan which is is expected to be rolled out this summer.
“I’m close to Jared Kushner … Everywhere in the history of mankind, when there is a negotiation between two sides, the more powerful [party] is imposing terms on the weaker party. That’s the basis of Jared Kushner’s [peace plan],” Araud said.
During a closed door meeting in Washington last week Kushner told a gathering of some 100 ambassadors at Blair house that the plan calls for concessions from both sides.
Araud told the Atlantic that “Trump is uniquely able to push the Israelis, because he is so popular in Israel.”
He added, “Once Trump told Macron, “I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something.”
But Araud did not clarify what concessions Israel would have to make.
The Palestinians have already rejected the plan, but Araud said that the US is hoping that the “Palestinians may consider, it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty.”
He added that “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 described Kushner as “totally dry” and “extremely smart” but someone who “has no guts. He doesn’t know the history.”
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,” Araud said.
With regard to the Israelis, he said, they are comfortable with the status quo, because they can have the West Bank without offering citizenship to the Palestinians.
If this situation continues, he said, “There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.”
France, along with the European Union, has insisted that the resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must fall in line with past parameters, which speak of borders based on the pre-1967 lines.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the importance of a two-state resolution to the conflict in the letter he wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week congratulating him on his victory in Israel’s April 9th elections.
Macron spoke of the need to “decisively revive the Middle East peace process and to achieve a two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security, in accordance with internationally agreed parameters,” a spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry said in a written statement to the media.
US special Jason Greenblatt, who has also authored the Trump administration’s plan spoke told Sky News in Arabic that in speaking of the resolution to the conflict there was no reason to use the phrase two-state solution because both sides had a different understanding of that term.
He has also been very active on twitter in commenting on supposed leaks about what it is in the plan. On Friday he dismissed a report that the plan called for portions of the Sinai desert to be part of a Palestinian state.
“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False! Please don’t believe everything you read. Surprising & sad to see how people who don’t know what’s in the plan make up & spread fake stories," he wrote.