Trump Says Israel Has To ‘Finish The Problem’ In Gaza After Months Of Silence

Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Israeli forces involved in the military offensive against Palestinians have to “finish the problem,” after months of staying silent on the violence in Gaza.

In a phone interview on “Fox & Friends,” hosts Brian Kilmeade and Lawrence Jones asked the GOP front-runner if he was “on board” with the way Israeli forces have been carrying out their offensive in Gaza.

“You’ve got to finish the problem,” Trump said. “You had a horrible invasion that took place, that would have never happened if I was president, by the way.”

Hamas militants launched a deadly attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking roughly 250 hostages. About half the hostages were released during a temporary cease-fire late last year; 100 of the remaining 130 hostages are estimated to still be alive.

In retaliation, Israel launched a massive and ongoing military offensive in Gaza, killing more than 30,000 Palestinians and wounding many more, as well as displacing millions.

Trump dodged multiple questions by the “Fox & Friends” hosts on his stances related to Israel and Gaza and instead reiterated that the Oct. 7 attack and Israel’s retaliation would not have happened had he been president.

“They wouldn’t have done it to me I guarantee you that,” he said. “They did this because they have no respect for Biden, and frankly, they got soft.”

President Joe Biden’s unconditional support for Israel and its military offensive is beginning to cost him votes in the 2024 election. Michigan, which has one of the largest Arab and Muslim American populations, saw an unprecedented number of Democratic voters cast their primary ballot for “uncommitted” instead of for Biden. The uncommitted movement, which has started spreading to other states, was led by voters who felt that Biden was not taking his constituents’ concerns seriously about U.S. involvement in Israel’s offensive.

Despite the president’s strong allyship with Israel, Trump would likely still be the preferred candidate for the Israeli government’s far-right leaders, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir. Last month, Ben Gvir told The Wall Street Journal that Trump would give the Israeli right a stronger backing than Biden currently does.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu essentially threw his support behind Trump in the 2020 election. The two leaders were close during the Trump administration, which cut Palestinians out of the negotiations over the so-called Abraham Accords and supported expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

However, after Netanyahu called Biden to congratulate him on his win in 2020, Trump began to sour on the Israeli leader. Just days after the Oct. 7 attack, Trump praised the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group as “very smart” while disparaging Netanyahu and Israeli military officials. The Republican candidate had since stayed noticeably silent on the war until Tuesday.