Outgoing French Ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, says Israel is an apartheid regime and that President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan is 99% doomed to fail.
Trump’s so-called peace plan “will be a proposal very close to what the Israelis want. Is it doomed to fail? I should say 99 percent yes,” Araud told US magazine The Atlantic.
The French ambassador also said Trump is extremely popular - even more popular than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - among Israelis and that they “trust him.”
The US president is about to unveil the Middle East plan, which has been formulated by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Last week, The Washington Post said the plan is likely to “stop short of ensuring a separate, fully sovereign Palestinians state.”
Araud said Kushner “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].”
Earlier this month, Trump said he had made a swift decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory after getting a quick history lesson from Kushner.
Araud recalled that “once Trump told [French President Nicolas] Macron, ‘I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something.’"
He concluded, however, that “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, Araud said, “because they [can] have the cake and eat it."
The French ambassador said Israel is hesitating to make "the painful decision about the Palestinians" - to leave them "totally stateless or make them citizens of Israel."
"They [Israel] 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."
Israeli forces shoot restrained Palestinian boy
On Saturday, the daily Haaretz reported that Israeli soldiers had shot a blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian boy they arrested in the occupied West Bank.
He was allegedly arrested after a stone-throwing incident on Thursday near the Palestinian village of Tuqu'.
"He was detained nearby and shortly thereafter he began to flee from the squad again. The squad immediately began a pursuit, during which the detainee was shot in the lower body,” the Israeli military said.
Haaretz, however, said the procedure of “pursuit” is unclear as the boy was in cuffs while he tried to flee. It also noted that footage from the scene showed he was also blindfolded.
The Israeli troops kept the boy even after he had been wounded, but the Palestinians managed to evacuate him to receive medical treatment following clashes between soldiers and Palestinians at the scene.
The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Trump announced his decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s so-called capital and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.