Ten years ago I authored an op-ed published by Haaretz which stated unequivocally that Christians United for Israel (CUFI) "would never presume to tell Jerusalem how to conduct its foreign or domestic affairs." That position has not and will not change. We stand with the decisions of the democratically elected government of Israel.
Christian support for Israel is founded in theology, but it does not end there. Israel is a democracy and a U.S. ally, as such, Americans respect the Jewish state’s sovereignty. The people of Israel, not their friends nor their detractors, must live with the consequences of Jerusalem’s decisions therefore, those decisions are theirs alone to make.
From a Biblical, historical and legal perspective, Israel owns, and does not occupy, the Holy Land. And one cannot be an occupier on land it owns. Nevertheless, an all or nothing approach – as the Palestinian leadership insists upon – often results in getting nothing at all. It is therefore unsurprising that since its founding, Israel has repeatedly offered to make painful compromises in pursuit of peace with its neighbors to no avail.
With all of this in mind, CUFI and its more than eight million members, supported and continues to support the Trump Peace Proposal in its entirety. This includes Israel’s exercising its sovereignty over portions of Judea and Samaria and once again offering the Palestinians an opportunity to have a prosperous and independent existence.
For any side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, perfect is the enemy of good. Pragmatism must reign, and the Trump plan is the most realistic effort ever offered by an American administration to end hostilities in the region.
It is now up to the Palestinians to make a decision. They are unquestionably the masters of their own destiny. Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn was right when he wrote that to delay a unilateral Israeli move, "All [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] needs to do is call, text or email the White House to request a meeting with President Donald Trump at which he announces his willingness to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the ‘deal of the century.’"
Israel cannot be expected to acquiesce to the demands of a Palestinian leader who refuses to talk about peace but has no problem talking about the supposed evils of the Jewish state. Likewise, Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbors should focus less on making threats and more on offering solutions.
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Jordan’s threat to terminate its peace treaty with Israel is perhaps the best pragmatic argument for Israel exercising its sovereignty over portions of Judea and Samaria – in particular the Jordan River Valley. Jordan’s threat obliterates any notion that Israel can rely upon that peace treaty to ensure defensible borders.
For decades we have seen the international community – including past American administrations – pressure Israel, largely because Israeli leaders are reasonable, and asking anything of Jerusalem is far easier than asking anything of Ramallah. But that is unfair, inappropriate and has not seen results. The Trump Peace Proposal offered a new course: enable the Palestinians to be masters of their own destiny while not allowing Israel to be held hostage by Palestinian rejectionism.
In that same op-ed from a decade ago, I noted, "We have never, and will never, oppose Israeli efforts to advance peace. Our involvement in the peace process will continue to be restricted to defending Israel’s right to make decisions free of international interference or pressure — including U.S. pressure." That too, remains unchanged.
It is not our place to tell Israel what to do; but it is time for America to boldly stand with its greatest ally and go forward with the Trump Peace Proposal, without delay.
Washington assured Jerusalem that Palestinian inflexibility would not derail the peace proposal. America’s leaders need to keep their word.
Pastor John Hagee is the founder and Chairman of Christians United for Israel. Twitter: @PastorJohnHagee