WASHINGTON – Evangelicals are on the front lines helping President Trump craft his plan for peace in the Middle East.
"We were stunned by that," said Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
Pastor Graham was surprised when the White House decided to court faith leaders for input on its Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
"We talked about, of course, the sovereignty of Israel that is very important for Christians – Bible believing Christians – that Israel has a right to exist and Jerusalem as its capital," said Graham.
Graham told that to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, adding that the security of Israel needs to be in the proposal.
"Making sure that Israel is safe – as long as people keep throwing bombs at Israel it is going to be difficult to have peace," Graham said. "Everybody understands that, but at the same time we talked about partnerships with Arab countries and governments that could be partners, and economic development will be a part of the plan."
Pastor Jentezen Franklin of the multi-site Free Chapel based in Gainesville, Georgia agrees. He too was in the meeting.
"There is a something that is working – people like Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt and others are working, trying to find some middle ground," Pastor Franklin said.
The middle ground could include a "two state solution."
The challenge lies with the Palestinian Authority which has refused to speak with the White House since President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"Everyone needs to live with hope. Many Palestinian people are living without hope," Graham said.
"God cares and loves the Palestinians and so do we in the Evangelical community, but we cannot allow parts of Israel that serve so greatly to protect and secure the people of Israel to be given away," said Franklin.
The White House has stopped short in releasing details of the forthcoming peace plan.
In September, President Trump said it would be ready in four months but it's clear more time was needed to hash out a deal.