Gingrich made the comments in a conference call organized by the National Council Young Israel posted on YouTube by the website The Yeshiva World News, in response to a question about whether he had been in favor of the prisoner exchange:
I refuse to second guess the people of Israel doing what they believe is necessary both on a humanitarian level and out of their love for one of their children. I would say flatly that we made no such deal. I’m told that at least thirty of the people released were involved in killing Americans, and I would instruct the CIA to hunt down those thirty.
The comments can be heard at 19:51 in the YouTube recording of Gingrich’s interview.
Gingrich provided no evidence for his claim about the Palestinians being involved in killing Americans. Since the 1990s, the CIA has worked closely and openly with the Palestinian Authority both under the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. But the CIA’s role has been to assist the Palestinian Authority to collaborate more effectively with Israel, rather than to carry out extrajudicial executions of Palestinians.
It is unknown how Israel would view the United States carrying out assassinations within territory it controls.
Support for settlements
In the interview, Gingrich also stated that he had no problem with Israel building settlements on occupied Palestinian land.