New York Times: Trump’s call on Israel to end the war worries his allies

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The New York Times said that the recent statements made by former US President Donald Trump, in which he urged an end to the war in Gaza without insisting on the release of Israeli detainees first, were another departure from conservative support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The New York Times reviewed – in a report written by Jonathan Swan – what two Israeli journalists said who traveled to Florida in the hope of obtaining a strong expression from Trump of his support for their country’s war in Gaza, but what they heard, as they say, “shocked us to the core”.

Ariel Kahana, a right-wing settler and chief diplomatic correspondent for the Israel Today newspaper, said, “Both US presidential candidates, current President Joe Biden and Trump, are turning their backs on Israel”.

What did Trump say that worried Kahana?

The two journalists said that Israel had begun to lose popular support for its attack on Gaza, that images of destruction were damaging to Israel’s global image, and that Netanyahu must end his war soon, because such Biden-worthy statements aren’t the encouragement Netanyahu was expecting from Republicans in Washington.

“You’ve to end your war… You’ve to get it done… We’ve to reach peace… We cannot allow this to happen,” Trump told reporters.

These are statements that seem to have bothered Kahana more than Biden’s warnings to Israel, especially since Trump didn’t prepare the ground for his call on Israel to end the war by insisting on the release of detainees.

Kahana wrote, “Trump overtook Biden to the left when he expressed his willingness to stop this war so that Israel could return to the great country it was before,” stressing that “there is no way to beautify, diminish, or cover up this problematic message”.

Although Trump’s aides insist that the interpretation is wrong, and that what their candidate means is “to fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and eliminate the terrorist threat”.

It’s not possible to circumvent the apparent division between Trump and congressional Republicans who are competing in showing support to the Netanyahu government.

The New Yok Times pointed out that what Trump told the Israel Today newspaper is only the latest in a long series of statements he made to undermine Netanyahu, who hasn’t yet been forgiven for congratulating Biden as the winner of the 2020 elections.

In 2021, Trump told a journalist that he had concluded that Netanyahu “never wants peace” with the Palestinians.

He also criticized Netanyahu and the Israeli intelligence services in his first reaction to the October 7 attack, and his advisers even privately implored him to correct his comments.

Right-wing supporters of Israel, and Israelis like Kahana, analyze every word of Trump’s statements, fearing that he won’t be an unreliable ally, unlike he was in his first term, when he gave Netanyahu almost everything he wanted, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights.

“Those who support Trump and strongly support Israel’s efforts to win the war should understand that when the administration speaks out on both sides at a crucial moment, it creates a sense of instability,” said John Podhoretz, editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine and a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan.

Podhoretz explained, “The only difference between Trump and Biden is that Biden’s actions match his words; All Trump does is talk, and he isn’t making any policy that would make anyone feel comfortable”.

For his part, Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, insisted in an interview that people are misreading Trump’s statements, pointing out that Kahana, despite his respect for him, exaggerated in interpreting Trump’s statements, and said, “I understand the fear of Republican isolationism, because there is there is a movement within the Republican Party moving in this direction, but I heard him (Trump) saying, “Complete the mission, defeat it (Hamas) decisively, defeat it as quickly as possible, and then move on”.

Some of Trump’s former advisors filled the policy vacuum with their own ideas for resolving the conflict, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said that “the Gaza waterfront could be of great value” and that the Palestinians should be “expelled”.

Friedman also suggested that Israel demand full sovereignty over it.

The West Bank, which permanently ends the possibility of a two-state solution, while depriving the Palestinians of citizenship.

However, it’s not known whether Trump will support these ideas, even though he has long clung to the possibility of reaching a grand deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and insisted that he alone is capable of brokering the “deal of the century,” even though he acted unbalanced in favor of Israel while in office, to the point that the two-state solution he presented wasn’t realistic at all.

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