GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie said Wednesday that pushing for humanitarian pauses in Israel’s attacks in Gaza is not up to the United States, but up to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to decide.
“I don’t think it’s our call,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “I think it’s the call of the Israeli Defense Forces. Look, they’re in a war, Jake. And the fact is that they need to do what they need to do to eliminate the threat of Hamas.”
Christie recently returned from a visit to Israel earlier, where he toured Kfar Azza, a kibbutz in southern Israel that was attacked by Hamas militants in its Oct. 7 assault that killed more than 1,200 people. He had previously pushed back on calls for a cease-fire, arguing while he was in Israel that it wouldn’t “make any sense” because Hamas first broke the cease-fire in its initial attacks.
“I mean, you cannot negotiate with folks like this because their goal is simply to eradicate not just Israel, but it’s to eradicate the Jewish people. And so, you know, I understand we don’t want any loss of innocent civilian life,” he said on Wednesday.
“But let’s remember two things. There was a ceasefire on October 6 and it was Hamas that broke it on October 7,” he continued. “And so you, you cannot allow people in Gaza to be used as human shields and all the rest, and then blame that on the Israelis. It is Hamas that’s enslaving their own people.”
Christie also added that he would support a two-state solution, noting that that would be “part of the way to continue to isolate Iran.”
Christie’s comments come just as the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for urgent humanitarian pauses and corridors to be opened in Gaza and for the release of hostages held by Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. The U.S., along with Russia and the United Kingdom, abstained from the vote.
Israel agreed to four-hour daily pauses in Gaza military operations last week, which comes weeks after it started its bombardment of the territory. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has said that more than 11,000 people have died in Gaza since the war began last month.