Trump bashes Israel’s ties with Democrats, urges ‘quick’ end to war and return to peace

Former president and current Republican candidate says Israel is ‘loyal to a fault’ for continuing to deal with Democrats after Chuck Schumer’s speech calling to replace Netanyahu

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Republican presidential candidate 
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Georgia. (AP Photo/ Mike Stewart, File)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Georgia. (AP Photo/ Mike Stewart, File)

Former US president and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sunday that he would tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finish the war against Hamas in Gaza “quickly and get back to the world of peace” if he won the election in November.

Netanyahu has insisted that Israel is not far from completing the war and would be weeks away from doing so once it completes its still-yet-to-be-launched operation to dismantle the terror group’s remaining battalions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Trump did not go as far as to call for a ceasefire in the Strip, but his remarks in an interview to Fox News’s MediaBuzz are the second time this month that the former president has hinted at discomfort with Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.

Asked what his message to Netanyahu would be, Trump said, “I think you have to finish it up, and do it quickly and get back to the world of peace.”

Trump said if he were reelected in November, he would end the war between Russia and Ukraine even before being sworn in in January 2025, and would also bring “peace in the Middle East,” recalling his success in brokering the Abraham Accords, which saw the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan agree to normalize ties with Israel.

In a March 5 Fox interview, Trump said Hamas’s October 7 “attack on Israel, and likewise, Israel’s counterattack… would never have happened if I was president.”

Former president Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

While the remark indicated questionable feelings regarding Israel’s prosecution of the war, Trump added that Israel must “finish the problem.”

Trump and Netanyahu have had a checkered relationship, with the former often indicating that he has never forgiven the Israeli premier for congratulating Joe Biden after he defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

The former president also criticized Jerusalem for seeking to maintain relations with the Democratic Party.

“The Democrats are very bad for Israel. Israel sticks with them. I guess Israel’s loyal — maybe to a fault — because they stick with these guys,” he said in relation to Chuck Schumer’s speech last week in which he called on Israel to hold elections to replace Netanyahu.

“If [Biden] were a supporter of Israel, the Iran nuclear deal would have never been signed, and Israel would have never been attacked,” Trump added, referring to the accord that was signed in 2015 when Biden was vice president.

Returning to Schumer’s remarks, Trump recalled that Israel “lost a lot of people on October 7. People have to remember that.”

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks on the Senate floor on March 14, 2024. (Video screen capture)

The former president suggested Schumer, who acknowledged the horrors of Hamas’s October 7 attack in his speech, was aware of this, but was more interested in securing more voters.

“He’s seeing the Palestinians and he’s seeing the marches and they are big. Then he says I want to go that way instead of Israel,” Trump suggested. “[He] sees a lot of people protesting out there and they happen to be Palestinians or… from the Middle East. He was probably shocked to see it, and all of a sudden he dumped Israel.”

“He just said essentially that Bibi Netanyahu should take a walk,” Trump added, using the prime minister’s nickname.

Israel’s war with Hamas broke out on October 7 with the terrorist organization’s unprecedented attack in which it murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253.

The US has continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself against such an attack throughout the five months of war, but has expressed concern for the situation in Gaza which is facing a humanitarian crisis.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza claims that almost 31,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the war, but the number cannot be independently verified, and is believed to include both Hamas terrorists and civilians, some of whom were killed as a consequence of the terror group’s own rocket misfires.

The IDF says it has killed more than 13,000 terrorists in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 who were killed inside Israel on and immediately following October 7.

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