Approximately five dozen pro-Israel Christian leaders representing 60 million believers in the United States are petitioning President Donald Trump through a letter to keep his promise and move the U.S. Embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital in Jerusalem.
The 60 or so Christian leaders submitted the letter to Trump this week, calling him to make good on his campaign pledge to finally make the move that was originally directed by U.S. Congress more than two decades ago (1995), according to the Christian nonprofit legal group Liberty Counsel.
“The time has come, at long last, to uphold American law by moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s eternal indivisible capital city of Jerusalem,” the letter reads, according to WND.
Bad time to balk
The letter comes in anticipation of Trump’s visit to Israel next week, when he will become the first incumbent U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in eastern Jerusalem.
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver brought attention to the fact that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem will help establish Israel’s claim to Jerusalem – over the claim of the Palestinians, who insist that the holy city rightfully belongs to them.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Staver declared, according to WND. “King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago. It has been, is, and shall remain the capital of Israel. It is time America recognized the obvious.”
Staver, who also serves as president of Christians in Defense of Israel, maintains that the symbolic move reinforces the international community’s acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital.
“To not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contradicts the Bible, history and present-day reality,” the Christian leader continued. “Refusal to recognize Jerusalem is anti-Semitic. It’s time for the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and the president’s visit to Israel would be an ideal time for him to make that announcement.”
In the letter to Trump, mention was made of the 20-plus-year-old law empowering the president to transfer the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
“It references the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, adopted by votes of 93–5 in the Senate and 374–37 in the House, which instructed that the embassy be moved by May 31, 1999,” WND’s Bob Unruh informed. “Yet it gives the president broad discretion to determine whether moving the embassy is in the ‘national security interests’ of the United States.”
With more than 100 days having passed since Trump took office, Christian leaders are pressing Trump to make good on his campaign promise that motivated many evangelicals to cast their vote for him last November.
“The Republican National Convention’s official 2016 platform rightly stated, ‘We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish State and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of U.S. law. Moreover, we were honored and grateful that you pledged to specifically uphold this policy in response to a request from the American Christian Leaders for Israel coalition during your campaign. Many of our constituents cast their vote for you due to this commitment,'” the letter stated, according to WND.
After reports made earlier this week that Trump will not announce plans for the move next week during his Israel trip, Staver is concerned that the president is backpedaling from his vow to forward the greatly anticipated Tel Aviv-to-Jerusalem transfer of America’s embassy.
“This is disappointing and not in keeping with President Trump’s promise to move the Embassy to Jerusalem,” Staver announced in a Liberty Counsel press release Wednesday, titled “Keep Your Promise and Move the Embassy.” “While reports say President Trump has not ruled out a move, the fact is there is no reason for delay.”
Staver, who also serves as founder and chairman of Covenant Journey, pointed out that for more than a year – since March 2016 – Trump has boasted about his plan to aggressively push the move forward, including a pledge he made just a week before the November election.
“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” the president said days before he was elected.
But as his Israel visit approaches, the State Department and other sources are giving the new commander-in-chief pushback over his plan, but Staver insists that delaying the move any longer will not only hurt Israel, but Trump’s support, as well.
“It is foolish to think delaying the decision to move the Embassy will somehow pave the way for peace negotiations,” Staver asserted in the release. “Israel has no peace partner. Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas is isolated in Ramallah, while Hamas terrorists control Gaza. Abbas’ term expired January 2009, and Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007. Neither group speaks for the other and neither group recognizes Israel’s right to exist.”
His final advice to Trump urged him to not cave in to the pressure of America’s and Israel’s enemies – as former President Barack Obama had a habit of doing during his eight years in office.
“To delay or not move the Embassy is a sign of weakness that will embolden the enemies of Israel,” Staver concluded. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This is not as complex a decision as some argue. Move the Embassy.”
Justifying Israel’s right to Jerusalem
Despite the talk about Trump not following through with his plans for the move, it is contended that his upcoming trip would be the perfect setting to push it forward – just a few months after Obama refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital … a few days before leaving office.
“It was in the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War, 50 years ago, in 1967, defeating the attacking armies of Israel’s three neighboring countries – Egypt, Jordan and Syria – that Israel captured East Jerusalem, held by Jordan, and united it with West Jerusalem, held by Israel,” WND Columnist Star Parker recounted. “The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem delivered a strategy paper to President Trump, which includes my organization CURE as a signatory, urging him to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The paper quickly gets to the heart of the matter, saying that hesitance to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, because of ‘fear of Islamic backlash,’ is not policy ‘based on principle, fairness and historical right – but it is based solely on weakness and fear.'”
She said Trump’s resolve to move forward with the move would exhibit not only good foreign policy – but work in the interest of Israel’s and America’s national security.
“If the United States wants to further peace in the Middle East, and elsewhere, the best start is to demonstrate clear, principled leadership, defined by our free principles and not by intimidation,” Parker argued. “Nothing defines the unique relationship between the United States and Israel more than the Scripture from the book of Leviticus in our Bible inscribed on the Liberty Bell – ‘Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.'”
Follow her lead …
Going against the anti-Israel sentiments of the past Obama administration and the pro-Palestinian United Nations (U.N.), U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley insists moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is a good idea.
“Obviously, I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government – [it] is in Jerusalem,” Haley told David Brody of CBN News’ The Brody File.
She realizes that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel, and to have the U.S. Embassy in any other place does both Israel and the U.S. a disservice.
“So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem, and I think we have to see that for what it is,” she continued.