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Trump vows ‘I will stop the war in Gaza’ to anti-Israel UFC star

Donald Trump

Trump urged the Jewish state to ‘finish up your war’ and ‘get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.’

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Former US President Donald Trump told an anti-Israel retired star of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that he would “stop” the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East, adding to a growing list of statements that have made it unclear what his policy toward the Jewish state would be in a second term in the White House.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Russian former professional mixed martial artist who retired undefeated from the UFC, approached Trump at a UFC event on Saturday night, urging the Republican Party’s presumptive 2024 presidential nominee to bring an end to the war in Gaza.

“I know you will stop the war in Palestine,” Nurmagomedov said to Trump.

“We will stop it. I will stop the war,” Trump responded.

Nurmagomedov had previously spread the conspiracy theory to his more than 37 million followers on Instagram that Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza at the beginning of the war.

“Bombing a hospital full of children & refugees is not a pathway toward peace. This is genocide,” Nurmagomedov wrote on Oct. 18, just days after Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists launched the war by invading southern Israel from neighboring Gaza on Oct. 7, murdering 1,200 people and taking over 250 hostages.

According to investigations from groups such as Human Rights Watch, the Associated Press, and Western intelligence agencies, Israel did not bomb the hospital; rather, the blast was likely caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket from Gaza that hit the parking lot of the medical facility.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released video in April of a spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) admitting that the Gaza-based terrorist group had initially lied about the source of the deadly rocket strike on the hospital, falsely blaming Israel in an attempt to cover up the organization’s involvement.

The IDF at the time had released audio recordings in which Hamas officials can be heard admitting that PIJ was responsible for the misfired rocket.

“We fabricated a story that the rocket belonged to the ‘occupation’ [Israel] and that the target was the building” of Al-Ahli Hospital, the spokesman said, adding that the terrorist group’s communications department chose to lie in order to “erase” the fact that the rocket had fallen short of its target. He went on to say that they also “relied on the stories in the international press.”

The Al-Ahli strike on Oct. 17 was reported by all major news outlets minutes after it occurred. Many mainstream publications, including the New York Times, the Associated Press, and the BBC, came under fire for accepting the Hamas-released death toll at face value. The Times‘ headline said the strike killed “hundreds.” AFP later put the number of those killed by the misfired rocket at between 50-90. The Times ultimately admitted its initial coverage of the blast “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas,” who publicly claimed Israel was responsible and bombed the hospital directly.

Given Nurmagomedov’s stance on the Gaza war, Trump’s response to him over the weekend may raise eyebrows among pro-Israel supporters.

Saturday was not the first time that Trump made comments in recent months raising questions about what his policy toward Israel would look like in a second term.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Trump urged the Jewish state to “finish up your war” and “get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

In that interview, Trump also argued that Israel was painting “a very bad picture for the world.”

Then, when he was asked on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to clarify his comments, he doubled down, saying, “You’ve got to get it over with, and you have to get back to normalcy. And I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it, because you’ve got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it’s taking a long time.”

It was unclear whether Trump was saying Israel should be fighting harder to achieve a swift “total victory” or calling for an end to the war more generally. During the same interview, the former president demurred when asked if he supports Israel “100 percent.”

“And the other thing is I hate they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down. They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that,” Trump said.

“That’s why they’re losing the PR war,” he argued. “They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war … I guess it makes them look tough. But to me, it doesn’t make them look tough.”

During a rally in April, a crowd of Trump supporters began to chant “genocide Joe,” referring to the phrase many progressives have used to claim US President Joe Biden is supporting what they see as a “genocide” in Gaza. In response, Trump said, “They’re not wrong, they’re not wrong. He’s done everything wrong.”

Weeks later, in an interview with Time magazine, Trump argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “rightfully has been criticized for what took place on Oct. 7” and that he has not taken proper action to secure the release of the hostages.

At the same time, Trump also recently touted his pro-Israel record at a donor dinner and posted on his social media site, Truth Social, “Crooked Joe [Biden] is taking the side of these terrorists [Hamas], just like he has sided with the Radical Mobs taking over our college campuses.”

During his first term as president, Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; cut aid to UNRWA, the controversial United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees; and helped facilitate the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized Israel’s relations with several Arab countries. He also recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a strategic region on Israel’s northern border previously controlled by Syria.

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