US peace plan very close to what Israelis want, doomed to fail: French envoy

Washington [US]: The US peace deal for Israel-Palestine conflict will be “very close to what Israelis want,” and 99 per cent “doomed to fail”, claimed France’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud.

He also claimed that US President Donald Trump has, so far, been “uniquely” successful to “push the Israelis”.

“The White House plan, engineered by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, will be very close to what the Israelis want and is 99 per cent doomed to fail,” The Times of Israel quoted Araud as saying.

“But one per cent, you never forget the one per cent. Trump is uniquely able to push the Israelis because he is so popular in Israel,” he said on Friday.

Notably, Araud has also served as French ambassador to Israel from 2003 to 2006.

Claiming, Kushner, who has engineered the peace plan, has “no guts”, Araud said: “Kushner does not know the history [of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], and in a sense, it is good — we are not here to say who is right, who is wrong; we are trying to find a way [toward a solution].”

In an interview given to a US-based magazine, Araud claimed that the White House is relying on Trump’s popularity in Israel to get the peace plan cleared.

“Trump, he said, is more popular than Netanyahu [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] in Israel, so they trust him. That is the first bet, Kushner told me. The second is that the Palestinians may consider it is their last chance to get limited sovereignty. And the third element is, Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians. Do not forget, the Arabs are behind the Americans. The plan is 50 pages, we were told, very precise; we do not know what is in the plan. But we will see,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kushner on Wednesday announced that the peace plan will not be unveiled until June at the earliest. So far speculation is that the deal does not include a two-state solution, which was promoted by several countries.

West Bank is a disputed territory, with Israel and Palestine equally claiming it. Over 400,000 Jews live in West Bank settlements. Another 200,000-plus live in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods annexed by Israel after the 1967 war.