The Trump White House has been extensively engaging with Evangelical leaders to discuss its Middle East peace plan, according to a new report from Axios.
Earlier this week, a group of Evangelical leaders met with Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. Pastor Paula White, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor John Hagee, and author Joel Rosenberg were all reportedly present. Although off-the-record, the meeting was not secret, and many of the attendees have shared their thoughts about it on social media.
One of the publication’s sources said that several of the leaders seemed somewhat upset with the Trump administration’s peace plan. Namely, they were upset about the possibility of Palestinians being given a capital in parts of the city of East Jerusalem. Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt was reportedly unfazed by their concerns and downplayed them arguing that in order for there to be an actual peace plan both sides need to benefit, and make compromises.
“They didn’t give many details about the plan but they wanted to hear concerns and red lines and answer questions the Evangelical leaders had,” Axios‘ source said.
Prominent author Joel Rosenberg — who was also an aide to several Israel and American leaders, according to The Jerusalem Post — reportedly reassured the leaders present at the meeting that no deal will give parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he will not be giving up territory. Rosenberg told the religious leaders present at the meeting that President Trump needs “freedom of movement” to present a plan to Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Trump White House seeking evangelical approval of Kushner’s Middle East peace plan — like it is any of their business https://t.co/60pxlBD59l— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 9, 2019
These states, according to Rosenberg, are willing to make a deal with Israel, which will open the door for it to be made even if the Palestinians refuse to participate. The talks, Rosenberg said, will move forward without them.
“We need to give the Arab States the ability to support this. If the Saudis, the Egyptian and others can say that this plan is credible it will open the door for, after the Palestinians say no, to talk about how to move forward with Israel.”
It comes as no surprise that Rosenberg is involved in the talks, since he is a close friend of Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both of whom are Evangelical Christians.
Furthermore, Axios notes, it comes as no surprise that prominent Evangelical leaders are being briefed about the peace plan — Evangelical Christians are strong supporters of Israel, and the vast majority of American Evangelical religious leaders are staunch allies of Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.