Issam Smeir on Why American Evangelicals Should Support the Establishment of a Palestinian State

President Trump will release the details of the deal of the century following the end of Ramadan. Our knowledge is limited, but there are rumors that the plan will not include a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If the rumors are true, this would be a remarkable shift from the approach of previous administrations. But whatever emerges over the next few weeks, what’s clear is that the Trump administration is very keen to please evangelicals with its peace plan. Evangelicals comprise a critical voting bloc for Mr. Trump. Roughly one-quarter of the U.S. population is evangelical, and the majority support the state of Israel for both theological and political reasons.

As an evangelical, a former missionary, a dual U.S.-Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, and a psychologist who has spent the past two decades working with an evangelical organization to  help refugees to recover from trauma, I urge my evangelical brothers and sisters in the U.S. to support the establishment of a future Palestinian state alongside Israel.

First, the two-state solution is good for Israel. The only viable solution for Israel to simultaneously remain distinctively Jewish and truly democratic. Israel cannot and should not continue to control the fate of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, who are under the control of the Israeli government but denied the right to vote in Israeli elections. In these conditions, Israel is a Jewish state with a marginalized and disenfranchised minority, dominated by one language (Hebrew), one ethnicity (Jewish) and a political vision rooted in exclusivism, discrimination and fear that only breeds further resentment.

Second, evangelicals should support a Palestinian state for the sake of Palestinians. Many evangelicals support Israel for theological reasons. Many believe that God’s covenant with the people of Israel continues until today, through the modern nation-state of Israel, and that Israel has an important role to play in the last days. However, this doesn’t necessitate an either/or approach, in which Israelis are favored at the expense of Palestinians. Instead, evangelicals’ approach should be shaped on biblical commands to love Palestinians as people who are also made in God’s image.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Issam Smeir