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War on Gaza: Trump 'not loving' Israel's conduct in Gaza, says Israel 'losing PR war'

Trump's comments come amid rift among US conservatives over Israel's war in Gaza
Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on 5 March 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 5 March 2024 (Win McNamee/Getty Images via AFP)

Former US President Donald Trump said that he was not "loving the way" Israel was conducting its war in Gaza and that the country was "losing the PR war", while calling on Israel to finish the war and "get back to peace".

"What I said very plainly is get it over with and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people," Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview aired on Thursday.

"I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it," he continued.

Trump, who is set to become the Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election in November, said he wants Israel to win and achieve its goals in Gaza. However, he noted that it was "taking a long time".

He specifically criticised the footage released by Israel showing the rubble and destruction of Gaza, saying they were "the most heinous, most horrible tapes of buildings falling down".

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"People are imagining there are a lot of people in those buildings… and they don’t like it… To me, it doesn’t make them look tough. They’re losing the PR war. They’re losing it big."

Trump has labelled himself the most pro-Israel president in US history, noting his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and his backing of Israel's claim to sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

Candace Owens and the media war Israel has sparked among US conservatives
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However, he has also had a tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in and out of office. Trump used an expletive to describe Netanyahu when the Israeli leader congratulated US President Joe Biden on his election victory over Trump in 2020, according to a book by Israeli journalist, Barak Ravid.

According to a book released last year, Trump floated the idea of conditioning the annual $3.8bn in aid to Israel for a peace deal.

Upon learning that US military assistance to Israel could not be used in that way, he displayed frustration.

Ravid also claims that Trump had a favourable impression of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In an interview with Ravid, Trump said: "I thought he was terrific." He further expressed his belief that Abbas was more inclined towards making a deal compared to Netanyahu.

Republican lawmakers have largely been supportive of Israel's actions in Gaza, with some calling for Israel to inflict even more destruction on the besieged enclave. The criticism of Israel's conduct in the war from Trump, however, also comes amid a rift among conservatives, with a number of prominent pundits offering criticisms over Israel's war.

Candace Owens, a prominent conservative media commentator, recently left the Daily Wire, a media outlet co-founded by conservative and pro-Israeli media personality, Ben Shapiro.

The reasons for her departure were not made public, but the move came after Owens had made sharp criticisms of Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza.

Alex Jones, a controversial far-right media pundit, declared that Israel has lost the image war and that it is committing "robotic mass genocide", likely in reference to Israel's use of drone warfare in Gaza.

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