Donald Trump Criticises Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu And Calls Hezbollah 'Very Smart'

The former president admitted he could have been dishing classified information at a campaign event with a claim about the Israeli leader.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and called the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed terrorist organisation Hezbollah “very smart” ― just days after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel prompted the latter to declare a state of war, and amid escalating tensions across the Middle East.

The Republican 2024 front-runner, during an event in West Palm Beach, Florida, recalled to supporters what he described as “a bad experience with Israel” when he claimed Netanyahu had at the last minute pulled out from a joint US -Israel 2020 operation to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

Trump decided to go ahead with the strike anyway, he said. His version of events has not yet 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. Trump was charged in June for allegedly mishandling classified materials after leaving the White House.

Trump was reportedly furious when Netanyahu congratulated US President Joe Biden on his 2020 election victory, which Trump falsely maintains to this day was stolen. Some commentators speculated Trump’s criticism of Netanyahu could be down to that.

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

Trump suggested the group got the idea after a US 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 acknowledged.

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,” reported The Washington Post.

“Smart does not equal good,” Cheung added.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) 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.


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