US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt met with Evangelical leaders at the White House on Thursday to discuss President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" Middle East peace plan.
Among those present were Pastor John Hagee, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor Paula White and author Joel Rosenberg. The Evangelical leaders expressed concerns about whether the plan will include a call to divide Jerusalem and allow the Palestinian Authority to set up its capital on the eastern side of the holy city, Israel Channel 13 reported. “Greenblatt did not disclose details of the plan,” one participant told Channel 13. “He wanted to hear our concerns and what our red lines are.” The participant also said that Greenblatt insisted that the plan be “fair.” However, he also said that “both sides would gain from the deal, but they would also need to compromise.”
Joel Rosenberg would not reveal details of the meeting with Greenblatt, but tweeted the following report, which appeared in Axios.
Rosenberg, who is also a personal friend of US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, says he told the other Evangelical leaders in the meetings that Palestinian President Abbas is never going to make a deal, so there is no need to be too worried that Jerusalem is going to be sacrificed.
Rosenberg said he stressed to the other Evangelical leaders: “We need to allow the President freedom of movement and latitude to present a plan that would allow those Arab states which are more willing than ever to make peace with Israel to move forward. 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.”
Evangelical Christians continue to be strong supporters of Israel. Many Evangelical leaders have strong personal relationships with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Christians make up a large percentage of Trump's base supporters. Trump’s peace deal is expected to be presented in the next few months and the White House has been trying to reassure Evangelicals about the plan.
Special Envoy Greenblatt, who invited the Christian leaders to discuss the peace initiative, is the son of Hungarian Jewish refugees. Greenblatt has worked for Trump since 1997, rising to executive vice president and chief legal officer to before becoming his advisor on Israel. Greenblatt favors a two-state solution, negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians, and not imposed from any outside pressure like the United Nations. Greenblatt also stated clearly in a 2016 interview with the Jerusalem Post that “West Bank settlements are not an obstacle to peace.”