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Former President Donald Trump Takes Aim at Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, Applauds Hezbollah’s Strategy

October 13, 2023

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just days after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel prompted the latter to declare a state of war.

The Republican front-runner also called the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed militant organization Hezbollah “very smart” amid escalating tensions across the Middle East.

During an event in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump recalled to supporters what he described as “a bad experience with Israel.” He claimed Netanyahu had at the last minute pulled out from a joint U.S.-Israel operation to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in 2020.

Trump decided to go ahead with the strike anyway, he said. His version of events has not been confirmed.

“We did it but I’ll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down. That was a very terrible thing,” Trump said.

“We were disappointed by that. Very disappointed,” Trump later added. “But we did the job ourself and it was absolute precision, a magnificent, beautiful job. And then Bibi tried to take credit for it. That didn’t make me feel too good but that’s all right.”

Trump suggested the story wasn’t previously known. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s classified information.’ Well, maybe it is, but I don’t think so,” he added.

Notably, Trump was charged in June for allegedly mishandling classified materials after leaving the White House. He has denied wrongdoing.

Some commentators speculated that Trump’s criticism of Netanyahu could be related to the prime minister’s decision to congratulate President Joe Biden on his victory in the 2020 election, which Trump falsely maintains to this day was stolen. The former president was reportedly furious with Netanyahu at the time.

At least 2,600 people have been killed during the war between Israel and Hamas, a militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, since the weekend.

Earlier in his speech, Trump complimented the Iran-aligned Hezbollah, which on Sunday attacked Israeli positions from the north in what it described as solidarity with the “Palestinian resistance.”

Trump suggested the group got the idea after a U.S. official expressed fears that Hamas could open a second front, and said Israel now had to up its intelligence gathering.

“You know, Hezbollah is very smart,” Trump said. “They’re all very smart.”

“The press doesn’t like when they say it,” he added.

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said Trump was “clearly pointing out how incompetent Biden and his administration were by telegraphing to the terrorists an area that is susceptible to an attack,” according to The Washington Post.

“Smart does not equal good,” Cheung added.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) slammed 2024 rival Trump’s comments.

“It is absurd that anyone, much less someone running for President, would choose now to attack our friend and ally, Israel, much less praise Hezbollah terrorists as ‘very smart,’” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Culled from Huffpost

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