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Social media users praise UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov for confronting Trump over Gaza war

Former US president said 'I will stop the war' when asked by UFC legend to end the carnage, but many remain doubtful as to whether the Republican will follow through if elected
Former US President Donald Trump attends UFC 302 at Prudential Center (Luke Hales / AFP)

Former US president Donald Trump appears to have made his biggest and boldest campaign promise yet.

During a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, the 2024 presidential hopeful vowed that he would stop Israel's devastating war on Gaza when confronted by former mixed-martial artist and UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Following Islam Makhachev submission victory over Dustin Poirier for the Lightweight Championship, Nurmagomedov, who serves as a coach for Makhachev, was heard telling Trump: "I know you will stop the war in Palestine."

Trump, who routinely touts his support of Israel but has also been critical of the war on Gaza, responded by saying: "We will stop it. I will stop the war."

The clip was shared widely on X, formerly known as Twitter, and has since made rounds on other social media platforms to much praise.

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"Love seeing Khabib tell Trump to stop the genocide," said former UFC fighter and anti-war activist Jake Shields.

"Overall I like Trump much more than Biden but his unequivocal support for Israel is a deal-breaker for me. Almost all of his funding comes from ultra zionist so he's unlikely to switch directions but still good hes hearing it."

"Bro just accomplished more than all of our Arab leaders in this war," another user said. 

"This is what you call using your voice and name to call for change," another added. 

Others, however, were quick to point out that Trump's statements and actions whilst in office did not inspire much confidence. 

"Trump won't do it. He literally gave the Golan Heights to Israel. Moved the embassy to Jerusalem. He will sell the US out for Israel. Always," one user wrote on X. 

"He just said two weeks ago that Israel should be allowed to finish the job," posted another. "He says one thing and then the complete opposite the next day. This is how everyone is able to project what they want to hear onto him."

Israel's war on Gaza, now nearing its ninth month, has turned much of the enclave, which is home to more than two million Palestinians, into an uninhabitable hellscape.

Whole neighbourhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been devastated by air strikes and scorched by tank fire. 

Nearly the entire population is reported to have fled their homes, and those who remained in northern Gaza are on the verge of famine.

More than 36,000 people have been killed, the great majority of them women and children. Thousands more are missing or presumed to be dead under the rubble.

'Most pro-Israel president'

Trump's comments come amid increasing frustration among staffers within the Biden administration and US voters at the president's handling of the war, with a growing number of staff resignations and reports of internal dissent

However, while experts say the surge of "uncommitted" voters in the Democratic primaries is sending Biden a message that his administration’s policy on Gaza will cost him ahead of the presidential election in November, Trump’s ability to court voters on Palestine is limited.

Trump doesn't rule out ending aid to Israel to halt war on Gaza
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Trump has repeatedly 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 - something “nobody even asked for”.

In an interview with Real America’s Voice, Trump previously said: “Any Jewish person that votes for Biden does not love Israel and, frankly, should be spoken to."

He added that he does not understand "how a Jewish person can vote for Biden or a Democrat because they are on the side 100 percent of the Palestinians".

Earlier this month, he reportedly told donors during a closed door meeting that he would pursue a zero-tolerance policy US college campus protesters, adding he would deport those who weren't US citizens. 

"If you get me elected, and you should really be doing this. If you get me reelected, we’re going to set that movement back 25 or 30 years," he reportedly said.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump, who was recently found guilty on 34 felony charges in his "hush money trial," was welcomed with deafening roars of adulation when he made his way into the Prudential Center alongside UFC CEO Dana White.

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