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Chris Christie said Sunday he wanted to “capture the brutality” with his “own eyes” as the former New Jersey governor became the first 2024 Republican aspirant to tour Israel since the bloody Oct. 7 surprise attack by Hamas.
“I came here to see with my own eyes what took place on October 7 and there are few words that can capture the brutality of it — dozens of men, women, and children murdered in their homes by Hamas,” he reflected on X.
“It’s one thing to talk about these atrocities from the comfort of thousands of miles away. It’s another to see them firsthand. To listen to people on the ground, and to see the destruction and despair.”
During his trip, Christie toured a kibbutz that had been targeted by Hamas terrorists during the surprise attack, met with survivors, and talked with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
At one point, he was shown roughly 40 minutes of footage, highlighting Hamas’ brutality. Christie didn’t specify if it was the same footage that has been shown to lawmakers in Washington, DC.
“It wasn’t just the inhumanity that they were doing — chopping off heads, burning people alive — but it was the joy they took in it,” Christie recalled on CNN.
He recounted a clip where a terrorist called his mother boasting that “your son killed ten Jews with his own hands, your son’s a hero.”
Another heartbreaking anecdote Christie recalled was meeting with a 23-year-old woman who was shot at in a bomb shelter.
“[She] survived only because she was covered by other dead bodies,” he told CNN.
Christie contended that as long as there are “folks like that in Hamas, who are focused on wiping Israel off the map and killing the Jewish people,” plans for the Gaza Strip after the war have “to take a backseat.”
But he split with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who has opposed having the Palestinian Authority rule over the Gaza Strip when the war ends.
“I think it’s too early to make that determination,” Christie said. “I understand that the Prime Minister is focused exclusively now on the war … but look, I don’t see any long line of folks looking to volunteer to take over Gaza from Hamas.”
Netanyahu had voiced concerns that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t committed to deradicalizing and demilitarizing.
Christie indicated that he plans to return to the US and talk about the war in Israel “regularly.”
“To be able to walk through a neighborhood like this and see what was done to the people, to still be able to walk into one of these homes and smell the death still, a month later, is something that I think the American people need to know,” he said.
Israel recently revised down its casualty estimate from 1,400 to 1,200 since Hamas’ deadly attack.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, widely regarded as a questionable source, has claimed that at least 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war broke out.
Back in August, Christie made a surprise trip to war-torn Ukraine, where he briefly met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He claims that he had been invited by Israel’s foreign ministry to tour the carnage.