Donald Trump’s Dire Message to Israel

Former President Donald Trump issued a warning to Israel amid its ongoing conflict with Hamas, urging the country to “finish up” in Gaza as its efforts continue to lose “a lot of support.”

Israeli military forces have been engaged in an intense conflict in the Gaza region with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in response to the latter’s major attack on October 7, 2023, that killed 1,200 Israelis and led to over 200 people being taken hostage. The ensuing conflict has seen Israeli forces inflict considerable losses of life and infrastructure on civilians in Gaza, with the Associated Press reporting casualties of over 30,000 in the region.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 GOP nominee for president, has in recent months spoken out in support of Israel amid the conflict and lambasted his Democratic rivals for, in his view, not being supportive enough. Comments from earlier this month in which he urged Israeli forces to “finish the problem” were met with scrutiny by many, who accused him of supporting further violence against Palestinians.

In an interview published on Monday by the newspaper Israel Hayom, Trump offered a somewhat more tempered version of those past comments, warning the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that their cause is bleeding support and urging them to wrap matters up soon, while also stressing that the October 7 attack was a tragedy.

trump israel dire warning
Then-President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are seen at the White House on January 28, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Trump on Monday urged Israel to “finish up” the war in Gaza and…

Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

“You have to finish up your war,” Trump said. “To finish it up. You gotta get it done. And, I am sure you will do that. And we gotta get to peace, we can’t have this going on. And I will say, Israel has to be very careful, because you’re losing a lot of the world, you’re losing a lot of support, you have to finish up, you have to get the job done. And you have to get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

The former president also said he believed that Israel had made a mistake in its handling of the conflict, on account of the devastating images that emerged from Gaza in the wake of Israeli air strikes.

“I think Israel made a very big mistake,” he said. “I wanted to call [Israel] and say don’t do it. These photos and shots. I mean, moving shots of bombs being dropped into buildings in Gaza. And I said, Oh, that’s a terrible portrait. It’s a very bad picture for the world. The world is seeing this…every night, I would watch buildings pour down on people. It would say it was given by the Defense Ministry, and said whoever’s providing that that’s a bad image.”

Newsweek reached out to the Israeli Defense Force via email on Monday afternoon for comment.

President Joe Biden’s administration crossed a red line set by Netanyahu on Monday after the United States abstained from a United Nations (U.N.) resolution. The resolution demanded a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas as well as the release of all hostages taken captive by the Palestinian militant group.

With the U.S. taking an “abstain” vote, the U.N. Security Council passed the ceasefire resolution, the international body’s first call to end the monthslong conflict. It comes as relations between the U.S. and Israel, long viewed as close allies, have grown tense amid Biden’s concerns about humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Netanyahu on Monday issued an ultimatum to the Biden administration about the resolution, warning that he would call off the visit of Israeli delegates to Washington D.C. if the U.S. did not veto the resolution, The Times of Israel reported.

National security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer were set to travel to the U.S. to hear ideas about how to expand humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Following the vote, Netanyahu’s office called off the trip, calling it a “clear retreat from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war” that “gives Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to get a ceasefire without releasing our hostages,” according to The Times of Israel.