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GOP hopeful Chris Christie visits Israel, says the US should present solidarity in conflict in opposition to Hamas

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KFAR AZZA, Israel — Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie on Sunday visited Israel, saying the U.S. should stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel in its conflict in opposition to the Hamas militant group.

Christie toured a kibbutz that was ravaged within the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants that triggered the conflict and was assembly Israeli leaders, wounded troopers and households of Israeli hostages throughout his one-day go to. The previous New Jersey governor is the primary candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination to go to Israel.

“I got here right here as a result of I wished to see this for myself,” Christie stated throughout a tour of Kfar Azza, certainly one of greater than 20 cities and villages attacked by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Israel says over 1,200 individuals have been killed and 239 others are being held hostage in Gaza.

Jets buzzed overhead as Christie toured the kibbutz alongside the speaker of Israel’s parliament, Amir Ohana.

Christie, donning a flak jacket and flanked by an entourage of Israeli troopers, made his means by way of properties with partitions riddled by bullet holes and couches stained with blood. Over a month for the reason that assault, many Kfar Azza homes are burnt-out and destroyed — constructions left standing are scribbled with Arabic graffiti.

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“To have the ability to stroll by way of a neighborhood like this and see what was executed to the individuals, to nonetheless have the ability to stroll into certainly one of these properties and odor the demise nonetheless, a month later, is one thing that I believe the American individuals have to know.”

Christie, the 2024 race’s most vocal critic of former president, Donald J. Trump, has solid himself as the one Republican keen to instantly take him on. Trump has not visited Israel through the present marketing campaign cycle, although President Joe Biden has.

The Republican candidates have all lined up behind Israel, even because the nation comes beneath rising worldwide stress to halt or cut back an offensive within the Gaza Strip wherein greater than 11,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them girls and minors, have been killed, in accordance with the Well being Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, which doesn’t differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 individuals have been reported lacking and are regarded as trapped or {dead} beneath the rubble.

Christie praised the way in which that Biden has dealt with relations with Israel throughout wartime. As widespread protests of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in main cities like New York and Los Angeles appeal to hundreds, the Biden administration has sought to extend humanitarian assist into Gaza whereas backing the Israeli conflict effort by shifting US troops and protection techniques into the area. Biden has largely ducked calls to stress Israel right into a ceasefire.

Christie stated that he thought protesters calling for a ceasefire didn’t symbolize the overwhelming majority of People.

“I don’t suppose it’s the function of the USA to instruct the state of Israel on how one can present security and safety for its individuals,” he stated. “I believe we can provide recommendation, as pals give recommendation in personal. However publicly, my view is that we have to stand with Israel.”

Throughout his go to, Christie watched a movie of grotesque footage pulled from the physique cameras of Hamas militants on Oct. 7 and compiled by the Israeli military. The navy has screened the movie to worldwide press and a number of world leaders who’ve visited Israel for the reason that begin of the conflict.

“I need the individuals of Israel to know that there are a whole lot of thousands and thousands of People who stand with them, who perceive the atrocities that have been dedicated, and why sooner or later we have to stand completely shoulder to shoulder with Israel,” Christie stated.

Christie has positioned himself as somebody who if elected would defend U.S. pursuits and democracy overseas. He has beforehand visited Ukraine to satisfy with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The journey marks his second journey to a warring nation for the reason that begin of his presidential bid, after a go to to Ukraine in August.

By far essentially the most strident critic of Trump within the Republican subject, Christie has constantly been within the low single digits in nationwide polls, far behind the previous president.

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