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Israeli and Evangelical Leaders to Trump: Do Not Give Up Jewish Land for Peace with Palestinians

04-17-2019
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An American Evangelical leader and Israeli settler leader are urging President Donald Trump not to give up Jewish land for peace in his upcoming peace plan for Israelis and Palestinians.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Samaria Regional Council Mayor Yossi Dagan voiced their concerns Tuesday in a joint piece published in The Washington Times.

"The Trump administration should stay the course, continuing to avoid the 'land for peace' proposals, and the policies that have prevented Israelis from building in Judea and Samaria, which have repeatedly failed to work," Dagan and Perkins said in the editorial.

The two leaders are concerned Trump's pending peace agreement will call for Israelis to withdraw from settlement communities in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

For Dagan, the idea of giving up Jewish settlements for peace is personal. He fled the Sa-Nur settlement in Samaria when Israel withdrew and then destroyed it in the 2005 Disengagement Plan in an effort to create lasting peace with Palestinian leaders. It was one of four settlements that were demolished in the West Bank. Israel also withdrew from Gaza as part of the plan. Today, Gaza is controlled by the Hamas terror group, which presents a major security threat to Israel.

"One thing is clear, we won't sit on the sidelines while world leaders play with our future," said Dagan. "We will use all the tools and connections we have to ensure that any [peace] plan... will not harm the State of Israel or Judea and Samaria."

Their warnings come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to extend Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in the West Bank, causing some to question the likelihood of a future Palestinian state in the West Bank with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

"From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have the responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians," Netanyahu told Israeli media days before the country's national elections.

Trump has yet to publicly respond to Netanyahu's comments about the West Bank.

Dagan and Perkins ended their editorial by saying that while they want peace, Trump must take into account the consequences of well-intentioned but potentially bad decisions.

"One of us is a Christian, the other an Orthodox Jew," they wrote. "We both pray for and desire peace, stability and freedom in the Middle East. But just because we desire something to be does not make it so. We cannot control whether the necessary parties come to the negotiating table, and we should not fail to speak the truth and recognize reality because of the fear of others' reactions."

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