• ISRAEL \ Oct 28, 2020
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    Before the American Elections :If Policy towards Palestinians Matters By Nabil Khouri
Before the American Elections :If Policy towards Palestinians Matters
By Nabil Khouri

Since its establishment Israel has enjoyed a close relationship with USA. It is defined as a strategic relationship. The historical reasons for this are beyond the scope of this article. However, it is manifested in different areas:

Military: It involves priority in buying the most sophisticated and new USA weapons and veto power for Israel concerning USA’s selling of weapons to other US allies in the Middle East. Patriot anti-missile equipment.

Civil: The Billions of dollars that USA grants to Israel annually in assistance. USA offers also Financial guaranties.

Political: This bond involves USA’s decisions in the UN on the matter of Israel’s expansion policies or military activity in the West bank or Lebanon for example as well as resolutions that side with Israel. Of course there is a range of resolutions. Camp David 1 was different from Camp David 2 who is also different than are different from the the Oslo Accords and of course different from the humiliating Trump’s “Deal of the Century”.

For decades America did not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because of the annexation of the eastern part of Jerusalem that was occupied in 1967. Annexation was and is contradictory to the international law. In light of the American Evangelical pressure that sees the conflict as a stage for last days scenarios, the Trump administration decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital. In the same day of the ceremony of opening of the Embassy in Jerusalem and while 2 prominent evangelical pastors prayed in it, 61 Palestinians were shot and killed by the Israeli troops in the border with Gaza.

The prominent view that is very pro-Israeli is that of the majority of Evangelicals, however a note of precaution should be put here.

First, this is White Evangelicals and secondly- this is not all the Evangelicals in America. There is a stream of peace making evangelicals who take a more balanced attitude and in my opinion, a biblical approach with people like Dr. Tony Compolo, Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter , Dr. Ron Sider and others..
Another caution- we use the term “pro-Israeli” to mean “pro-Israeli government” and that is not the true use of the term.

Of course the American stand on the Palestinian matter has direct influence on the conflict. However, the American position that tolerates Israel’s hawkish stand towards the Palestinians and does the maximum to bypass the Palestinian case through separate Peace deals with Arab countries, does also affect the Middle East immensely. Furthermore- even other subjects of the stand towards climate change for example or even selling arms or domestic and cultural matters- all have effect on us.

Reasons for the support of these evangelicals to the pro-Israeli approach:

1- Certain Scripture interpretation on different levels:
a. Eschatological– Dispensationalism and the fulfillment of the prophecy to gather the Jewish people in a state again as a sign for the end days and coming back of Christ.
b. Blessing to those that bless the Jewish people : I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse; (Genesis 12: 3).

2- Guilt for what the Jews had to endure in the Holocaust.

3- The Jewish lobby (AIPAC) and Jewish influence in USA despite their small number.

4- Notion of Judeo Christian shared values.
The much needed support that cynical president needed – brought a new level of support. Trump knew what are the hot buttons that will bring him massive support of the white evangelicals who are a big constituency of the American voters.

This came in a time when this constituency felt devastated because of a term of office of a black president. That has roots in a white supremacy among these conservative evangelicals from southern states.

Obama held progressive or liberal views on the traditionally substantial issues for these evangelicals (abortion and LGBT)..

So the regular support and the façade of a fair broker that America took for years, became a blunt aggressive support that exceeds that of most Israelis.

It was translated to:

1- Declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.

2- Declaring US position that the occupied Golan Heights are part of Israel.

3- Humiliating the Palestinians with the deal of the century orchestrated by Israel and The president’s son in law and the American ambassador.

4- Closing the Palestinian diplomatic office in DC.

5- Separate peace treaties.

By this unequivocal support of evangelicals in US of Israel, they:

1- Fail the biblical truth when they put eschatology (actually one stream) before the Lord’s words “Blessed are the peace makers”.

2- Ignoring basic human decency and the foul character of President Trump.

3- Ignoring Arab Christians: supposedly brothers and sisters in Christ.

4- Hurting the gospel and how it is perceived in the Arab world.

Will some American Evangelicals review their past vote and decline to vote in support of Donald Trump?