Former US president Donald Trump on Saturday hit out at his successor Joe Biden over the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, accusing the incumbent American leader of having “criticized” the Jewish state during the hostilities.
The fighting last month erupted on May 10 after Gaza’s Hamas rulers fired rockets toward Jerusalem and other Israeli communities amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the city, before ending 11 days later with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.
“He actually criticized Israel while the Jewish homeland was under attack by thousands and thousands of rockets and missiles launched,” Trump said in a speech to the North Carolina Republican Convention.
It was not clear what Trump was referring to and he did not elaborate on Biden’s alleged criticism. The US president and his administration repeatedly stressed Israel’s right to defend itself while calling for a “de-escalation.” Other prominent Republicans have also charged that Biden did not sufficiently back Israel during the fighting.
In his remarks, Trump blamed Iran — which backs the Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups — of being behind the rocket attacks on Israel. “It was launched by Iran,” he said.
Trump also swiped at Democratic members of Congress, after some progressive Democratic lawmakers were highly critical of Israel during the fighting and called for reducing or ending military aid to Israel.
“It was a betrayal when you look at what happened in Congress,” he said. “It used to be… everybody was with Israel. Today, I guess it’s just not in vogue. But you look at some of these radicals they have in the House of Representatives, you have to deal with them all the time.”
He added: “Israel is really almost out, it’s almost out. It’s a very, very terrible thing.”
Trump, a vocal supporter of Israel while in office, previously accused Biden of “weakness” and of showing a lack of support for the Jewish state at the onset of the fighting.
During last month’s fighting, Hamas fired some 4,300 rockets at Israeli cities and towns, and Israel launched hundreds of retaliatory airstrikes at targets in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, 253 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, including 66 children. Palestinian terror groups in Gaza have said 80 of the total casualties were combatants, while Israel says the true figure is much higher. Thirteen people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were killed. Israel says dozens of the Gaza fatalities were caused by Hamas rockets that fell short and landed inside the Strip.