TEL AVIV – Donald Trump’s so-called loss to Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucus on Monday was welcomed by Palestinians across the board, including members of terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip who spoke to Breitbart Jerusalem.
Gazans expressed mild relief at Trump’s Iowa setback, though as one resident said, given Gaza’s dismal condition “the U.S. presidential elections are the least of our concerns.”
A number of young Palestinians told Breitbart Jerusalem that all of the candidates are indifferent to the Palestinians’ “hardships,” and there is virtually no difference between them.
Hani Elshaeer, a Gaza journalist, said that few Palestinians are hopeful that the U.S. elections will make any difference in their lives. “All of the candidates, from both parties, are on the same page on the Arab and Muslim issues, and share a hostility towards the Palestinians and their cause.”
“Donald Trump said out loud what others think about Arabs and Muslims, that’s why people were happy that he lost (in the Iowa Caucus), but the differences between them are minuscule,” he said.
Maha Shahin, a political science student at Nablus’ Al Najah University, told Breitbart Jerusalem, “Trump positioned himself as the enemy of the Muslims and the Arabs, that’s why everybody wanted to see him lose.”
“The elections will have no impact on the Palestinian issue, because the Americans focus on crises in the Arab world and on the emergence of radical groups,” she said.
Hamas official Husam Badran told Breitbart Jerusalem that the movement is unfazed by Trump’s performance in Iowa: “There is no difference between the candidates, therefore we don’t really care who wins or loses.”
“America’s overwhelmingly pro-Israel attitude puts it at odds with the Palestinian people,” he said. “We are a resistance movement, and as such we never trusted the American government’s policies and plans. We are not party to the great passion with which some Arab groups follow the campaign.”
Abu Ayna Al-Ansari, a Gaza-based Salafi militant leader allied with Islamic State ideology, told Breitbart Jerusalem “the candidates are all the same. They are infidels and we should fight them as such.”
He said he was not particularly happy at Trump’s misfortune, but said “undoubtedly, the brothers in IS can’t wait to chop his head off because of what he said about Islam and Muslims.”
“The candidates are all enemies of Islam and it’s the duty of Muslims to put up a fight the same way they labor to curtail the advancement of Islam and IS,” he said. “Allah promised that they would be defeated, and it’s our role to make sure it happens.”
Trump came in second place in Iowa despite the latest polls giving him a nearly five point lead over Cruz and the other GOP candidates.
In December, Trump angered the larger Muslim world when he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America in the wake of his remarks, Trump clarified that under his proposal American Muslims can come and go as they please.
“If a person is a Muslim, goes overseas, and comes back, they can come back. They’re a citizen. That’s different,” Trump explained. “But we have to figure things out.” Trump expressed his hopes that a shutdown “will go quickly,” as soon as “our leaders figure out what the hell is going on.”
Speaking on CNN following his “shutdown” proposal in December, Trump further warned that the country risks more terrorist attacks if his plan for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration is not implemented. “You’re going to have many more World Trade Centers if you don’t solve it – many, many more, and probably beyond the World Trade Center,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Trump speculated that there are already terrorists inside the country. “They want our buildings to come down; they want our cities to be crushed. … They are living within our country. And many of them want to come from outside our country.”