Ex-French ambassador: I never thought Israel was an apartheid state

"I never said, I never thought that Israel, in which I spent more than six years of my life and continue to maintain close ties, is an apartheid state."

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
May 3, 2019 11:29
1 minute read.
France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud

France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The former French ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud retracted his statements on Friday after calling Israel an apartheid state during an interview with The Atlantic.

"I never said, I never thought that Israel, in which I spent more than six years of my life and continue to maintain close ties, is an apartheid state," said Araud, according to a statement from the French Embassy.

"I expressed the concern shared by many friends of Israel that, in the future, the situation in the West Bank can lead to two peoples living in the same country, with different rights."

Araud had previously told The Atlantic: "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."

Araud said this as he discussed the "disproportion of power," between Israelis and Palestinians in mid-April.

In late April, Israel summoned France’s ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, to the Foreign Ministry to protest the comments by Araud.

The former ambassador, had also tried to clarify in various tweets that he was referring to the West Bank.

“In 52 years of occupation, what has been incrementally imposed on the West Bank through the colonization is: two people, two laws on the same territory with one people dominating the other. No, Israel itself is obviously not an apartheid state,” he wrote in one tweet.

In another, he added: “I am not backpedaling. Israel is not an apartheid state. Why [is] this issue... attracting so much passion from both sides?”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.


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