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Donald Trump on Sunday said Israel should quickly end the war in Gaza and “get back to the world of peace”—but it’s not what it sounds like.

The once and possibly future president was not urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the bombing or withdraw Israeli troops. Quite the contrary: Trump was prodding him to intensify and accelerate the military campaign, “to finish it up and do it quickly.”

He lambasted President Biden not for going easy on Israel, as leftist critics charge, but for applying pressure on Israel at all. “Biden is so bad for Israel,” Trump said. “They should’ve never been attacked. If Biden were good to Israel, they wouldn’t have been attacked.”

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Trump did not explain, nor is it remotely clear, how any American president could have prevented Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion. That failure is entirely on Netanyahu, for diverting too many troops from guarding the Gazan border to protecting settlers in the West Bank, and on Israel’s uncharacteristically lax intelligence officers for ignoring signs of an impending attack.

Trump also said, in a separate interview with Fox News on Friday, that Hamas’ invasion “would have never happened if I was president”—though, again, it’s not clear how Trump’s very presence in the Oval Office, even positing a favorable view of his time there, would have prevented the attack. (Would Hamas have feared U.S. retaliation? Would Netanyahu have taken better care of his southern border?)

This, of course, is typical Trump. He has also said that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if he’d still been president—even though, in fact, he’d given every signal that he would tolerate anything Vladimir Putin would do, especially if it meant hurting Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he still detests for their “perfect” phone call, which prompted Trump’s first impeachment.

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In his Sunday interview, Trump also accused Biden of abandoning Israel for rank political reasons. Israel, Trump said, “lost a lot of people on Oct. 7—maybe he’s forgotten it. He looks at Where do I get more votes, and he’s seeing the Palestinians and the marches—they are big—and he says, ‘I want to go that way instead of Israel,’ ” so, “all of a sudden, he dumped Israel” and just “said ‘Bibi Netanyahu should take a walk.’ ”

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All of this must come as a huge surprise to all parties involved—Israelis, Palestinians, and advocates of one side or the other—who see that even while he pressures Israel not to launch a massive offensive against the southern Gazan town of Rafah, Biden pledges to continue supplying U.S. weapons to Israel, regardless of its war tactics.

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Nor did Trump offer any ideas for how Israel might free the remaining 100 or so hostages (mainly Israelis but also including five Americans) in Hamas’ hands, while bombing Gaza to smithereens. Or how Israel could possibly “get back to peace”—specifically, how it can resume “normalized” relations with the Saudis and other Sunni Arab neighbors—after potentially killing another 30,000 or so Palestinians and razing still more of Gaza. Even then, militants would remain, in Gaza and the West Bank—determined to continue attacking, with aspirations of destroying, Israel—unless a more moderate and effective Palestinian Authority comes to power. And how could that happen in the wake of the obliterating offensive that Trump is now advocating?

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There’s a Cease-Fire Deal on the Table. Hamas Is the One Rejecting It.

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A lot of people who know nothing about history think that wars are won, and some sort of peace restored, simply by blowing stuff up. It is dangerous when a commander in chief thinks so.

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Netanyahu is not making things any better. He praised Trump’s “tremendous support for Israel,” noting that as president, he recognized Jerusalem as the capital and moved the U.S. embassy there, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and scuttled the Iran nuclear deal. (He did not mention that, as a result, Iran is much closer than ever to enriching enough uranium for an atom bomb.)

The prime minister hastily added, “I appreciate the fact that, right from the start of the war, President Biden stood with Israel, came here, called Hamas ‘sheer evil,’ sent aircraft carrier groups to the region, and sent us ammunition. I hope that support will continue.”

And Netanyahu wonders why Biden and many other Americans who support Israel would like to see him gone from power.

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QOSHE - What Trump Really Means When He Says He Would End the War in Gaza “Quickly” - Fred Kaplan
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What Trump Really Means When He Says He Would End the War in Gaza “Quickly”

4 7
19.03.2024
Tweet Share Share Comment

Donald Trump on Sunday said Israel should quickly end the war in Gaza and “get back to the world of peace”—but it’s not what it sounds like.

The once and possibly future president was not urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the bombing or withdraw Israeli troops. Quite the contrary: Trump was prodding him to intensify and accelerate the military campaign, “to finish it up and do it quickly.”

He lambasted President Biden not for going easy on Israel, as leftist critics charge, but for applying pressure on Israel at all. “Biden is so bad for Israel,” Trump said. “They should’ve never been attacked. If Biden were good to Israel, they wouldn’t have been attacked.”

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Trump did not explain, nor is it remotely clear, how any American president could have prevented Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion. That failure is entirely on Netanyahu, for diverting too many troops from guarding the Gazan border to protecting settlers in the West Bank, and on Israel’s uncharacteristically lax intelligence officers for ignoring signs of an impending attack.

Trump also said, in a separate interview with Fox News on Friday, that Hamas’ invasion “would have never happened if I was president”—though,........

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