Trump Accuses Netanyahu of Betrayal Before Iran Airstrike 2020

At a recent rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, former President Donald Trump made a surprising revelation, claiming that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reneged on a commitment to collaborate with the U.S. prior to the 2020 operation that resulted in the elimination of a leading Iranian general. This statement marked a departure from the Republican presidential candidates’ consistent backing of Israel, particularly in light of recent attacks by Hamas.

Many Republican leaders, including Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considered a potential contender for the 2024 presidential race, were quick to criticize Trump’s remarks. Historically, American leaders have shown solidarity with Israel, especially given the intense confrontation with Hamas, which President Joe Biden described as one of the gravest periods for the Jewish community since the Holocaust. The conflict reportedly led to the death of around 2,500 individuals from both Israeli and Palestinian territories.

At the rally, while Trump initially expressed his support for Israel, he soon shared a previously undisclosed incident involving its leadership. He spoke about the planned operation to target Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief of Iran’s Quds Force. According to Trump, Israel had agreed to collaborate on this mission, but backed out the night before its execution. Trump expressed his profound disappointment with Netanyahu for this perceived betrayal and mentioned that despite Israel’s withdrawal, the U.S. successfully completed the operation on its own.

While there was no immediate response from Netanyahu’s office, Shlomo Karhi, Israel’s communications minister, condemned Trump’s comments in an interview with Channel 13. He criticized Trump for promoting narratives that could potentially harm the morale of Israeli forces and citizens. Karhi also hinted at doubts regarding Trump’s reliability as an ally.

Governor DeSantis voiced his opinion on a platform known formerly as Twitter, emphasizing the importance of supporting Israel, especially in these turbulent times. 

Several Republicans, including Trump, have pointed fingers at the Biden administration, alluding to the release of close to $6 billion in previously frozen assets to Iran, known to back Hamas. Officials from the Biden administration have refuted claims regarding the use of these funds.

A spokesperson from Biden’s campaign, Kevin Munoz, highlighted Biden’s unwavering support for Israel and accused Trump of propagating misleading information during a sensitive period in Israeli history.

This report was further enriched with contributions from Associated Press correspondent Amy Teibel, based in Jerusalem.