Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Trump breaks silence on Israel’s military campaign in Gaza: ‘Finish the problem’

By 37ci3 Mar5,2024

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Former President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that Israel must “finish the problem” in the war against Hamas. .

“You’ve got to end the problem,” Trump said Tuesday on Fox News when asked about the war. “You have been subjected to a terrible invasion that would never have happened if I had been president.”

When asked on the program whether he supported a cease-fire in Gaza, Trump demurred, avoiding a clear position on Israel’s military efforts in Gaza, which have now killed more than 30,000 people. Palestinian Ministry of Health. The presumptive Republican nominee for 2024 has not expressed a position on US or Israeli strategy during the five months of the war.

While a staunch defender of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration during his presidency, Trump has attempted to take an anti-war stance on the campaign trail last year, comparing himself to President Joe Biden and his remaining Republican challenger, Nikki Haley. .

“Frankly, they’ve gone soft,” Trump said of the Biden administration on Tuesday, adding that if he were still president, aggression by foreign enemies would not have happened.

“This should never have happened. In the same way, Russia would never attack Ukraine,” he said.

While Tuesday’s comments were the strongest signal yet from Trump about where Israel should go, he has yet to offer specific ideas and proposals on how much U.S. funding should be raised, how to negotiate hostages, the situation of Gaza’s civilian population or other issues. did not present. whether leaders should seek a one- or two-state solution to the conflict.

Reached for comment by NBC News, the Trump campaign touted the former president’s record on Israel and blamed Biden for the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.

Trump’s national press secretary Caroline Leavitt said in a statement that “President Trump has done more for Israel than any American president in history, and he has taken a historic step that has created unprecedented peace in the Middle East,” adding: “When President Trump returns, Israel will be protected again in the Oval Office, “Iran will return to a broken state, terrorists will be hunted and bloodshed.”

A few days after Hamas attacked Israel, Trump, a video sent from his Mar-a-Lago estate here, declared: “I have kept Israel safe. No one else will. No one else can. I know all the players – they can’t do that.”

Trump has put up several signs in the three weeks since the Hamas attack. He said on Oct. 11 that the incoming Trump administration would “fully support Israel in defeating, defeating, and destroying the terrorist group Hamas forever,” and told the Republican Jewish Coalition later that month that Hamas fighters would “burn in the pit of Israel forever.” hell.” That month, his campaign also said that if re-elected, he would ban Gaza residents from entering the United States as part of an expanded travel ban.

However, after the past four months, the former president’s once-outspoken support for Israel has largely quieted.

The silence comes as Biden has come under increasing fire from left-wing and Muslim American voters for his support of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attack. A coalition of voters has been campaigning for Democratic primary voters to vote “non-loyal” or similar ballots, which some have supported in Michigan, where the “non-loyal” vote won more than 13% of the Democratic primary there last week. In the 2012 primary election in which then-President Barack Obama ran unopposed, about 11 percent of the vote was “non-loyal.”

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has increased its criticism of Israel, but has refrained from cutting off military aid. Biden is currently pushing for a six-week truce The deal included the release of dozens of hostages still held by Hamas.

The Biden campaign declined NBC News’ request for comment.

In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack, Trump expressed anger at Netanyahu, who congratulated Biden after winning the 2020 election, saying the Israeli prime minister had “let us down” by retracting Trump’s remarks. The 2020 joint US-Israel airstrike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Days later, Trump wrote on his social platform Truth He stood by Israel’s prime minister after pushback from some GOP rivals.

Robert Jeffress, the evangelical pastor of a Dallas megachurch and a close Trump ally, who led a prayer at the 2018 dedication of the US embassy in Jerusalem, told NBC News last month that he was “not worried about him.” [Trump’s] Israel’s position is weakening.

The prominent pastor, who leads a congregation of more than 10,000 in Dallas, met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in February to discuss evangelical support.

“We would like to hear what President Trump has said over the last nine years, and that is his unreserved support for Israel’s right to exist,” he said.

Maureen Maldonado, an author and Christian radio host, said she understands why Trump has not been as vocal about Israel as some supporters expected.

“He is a friend of Israel,” he said. “It’s all political and he should come to office first of all. He has to play the game.”

Vaughn Hillyard reported from Palm Beach and Allan Smith reported from New York.

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By 37ci3

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