Trump’s ambassador to Israel: Biden hampering Israel war effort against Hamas

Former envoy David Friedman tells TV news US president told ‘outright lie’ when he accused Israel of ‘indiscriminate bombing’ of Gaza Strip

Former US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman speaks at Ariel University, March 9, 2022. (Liron Modovan/Ariel University)
Former US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman speaks at Ariel University, March 9, 2022. (Liron Modovan/Ariel University)

The former ambassador to Israel under Donald Trump has accused US President Joe Biden of hampering Israel’s war effort, and said that the president’s charge last month of indiscriminate bombing by Israel in Gaza was “an outright lie.”

Friedman, who on October 12 tweeted his gratitude for “the moral, tactical, diplomatic and military support” that the Biden administration was providing for Israel, told Channel 12 on Sunday that he felt differently now and had always been concerned “that the president’s commitment would fade.”

War erupted on October 7 when Palestinian terror group Hamas led a devastating attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Another 253 were abducted as hostages in Gaza. Israel responded with a military campaign to destroy Hamas and free the hostages.

Friedman said Biden has made “some inappropriate comments. He spoke about the ‘indiscriminate bombing’ that Israel engaged in, which I think is an outright lie… He speaks continuously about this need to impose a two-state solution, which I think is tone-deaf right now.

“He is, I think, to some extent hampering the war effort by this desire to force Israel to engage in, I think, what he refers to as low-intensity combat. Why are people on the ground blowing up an empty building when it could be done by the air? I don’t know. I’m certainly not in a position to cast blame. But that’s sort of the kind of messaging that America has been giving Israel.”

Friedman was referring to an incident last week when 21 IDF soldiers were killed when attacked by Hamas gunmen while demolishing buildings a few hundred yards inside Gaza.

Asked what Trump meant when he said recently that October 7 would not have happened under his presidency, Friedman said the point was that “all this malign activity goes back to a strong Iran. When we left office, Iran was weak. If we were still in office, I think Iran would still be weak.”

He added that, while there had been Hamas attacks during his four years as ambassador, “at no time did the United States put any handcuffs or limitations on Israel’s ability to respond.”

US President Joe Biden speaks at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 28, 2024. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Friedman, who was in Israel on October 7, called the failure to prevent the Hamas onslaught “a colossal failure on the part of the Israeli military, intelligence and political arms together. It was a real mistake and I pray that this never happens again and those mistakes are corrected. And I assume they will be.”

Echoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position, he said the Palestinian Authority must not be allowed to run post-war Gaza.

“I don’t trust the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “They pay terrorists to kill Jews. They are corrupt. They engage in all kinds of malign behavior. And they are not suited to run Gaza or to run [the West Bank].”

Friedman said Israel-Saudi normalization would have happened were Trump still in office, and will yet happen, and argued that a Palestinian state is not a prerequisite. He noted that the Trump administration brokered normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, despite disagreements on that issue.

“A Palestinian state would be a terrorist state. And the last thing that the Saudis need, or the Emiratis need, or Israel needs or Jordan needs, is a terrorist state smack in the middle of the Middle East.”

Friedman said he is “hoping and praying for a decisive [Israeli] military victory and then for a rebuilding — physically, politically, militarily and emotionally — of the Israeli people. We’re praying for that every day.”

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