Prominent evangelical leaders sent a letter this week to President Trump urging him to fulfill his campaign promise to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem. A majority in Congress passed The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. However, it included a security waiver, which every president has so far used to delay the move, citing possible impacts on peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. The next deadline for the waiver is Dec. 1, 2017.
This week's communication reminded the White House of a previous letter signed in May by 60 major Christian leaders, representing 60 million evangelicals, which asked the president not to sign the waiver and to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The letters were organized by American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), an informal network of Christian leaders managed by the U.S. Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. They agree with the recent urging from the U.S. Congress' House Subcommittee on National Security that the time to move the U.S. Embassy is now during Jerusalem's 50th anniversary year as a reunified city.
Susan Michael, U.S. director-ICEJ, commented, "The Trump presidency has opened a door of opportunity in the Middle East, but we cannot assume it will stay open for long and must act now." Ms. Michael went on to say, "This issue is important to Christian leaders, many of whom are in favor of continued Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, including our revered sites in the eastern part of the city. Only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all peoples of faith."
Both lawmakers and American Christian Leaders for Israel have urged President Trump not to sign the waiver on Dec. 1, thus allowing the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act to finally be implemented. In doing so, President Trump would reverse a long-standing injustice since Israel is currently our only ally where the U.S. Embassy is not located in its capital.
The letter reads:
Dear President Trump,
We first want to reaffirm our continued prayers for you personally, your family and your administration. We also want to take this opportunity to let you know how much we appreciate your support for Israel and your stated intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) is a network of Christian leaders who collectively speak to and represent over sixty million Americans. During your 2016 campaign for president, you agreed to our five guiding principles in relation to Israel that over 650 Christian leaders had requested of you. One of those principles was the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the U.S. Embassy there.
Then in May 2017, we presented you with a letter signed by 60 major Christian leaders asking you to honor that commitment by not signing the Jerusalem Embassy Act waiver on June 1 and proceeding with moving the U.S. Embassy. Both initiatives are enclosed and found on our website at aclforisrael.com/icej-letter-to-president-trump/ and aclforisrael.com/letter-to-president-trump/.
We understand that you signed the waiver on June 1 in order to allow time for a possible peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While we were disappointed, we applaud your noble desire for peace.
However, we are gravely concerned that with every passing day it will become more difficult to move the embassy and if you do not do it now that it may never happen. We believe your presidency has opened a door of opportunity in the Middle East that no other president has been able to open, but we cannot assume it will stay open for long.
It is our conviction that the only way there will be real peace between the Palestinians and Israel is by requiring the Palestinian Authority to stop inciting violence and to prepare their people for peace with proper education in schools, universities, mosques and media. This will take several decades to raise up a new generation prepared for democracy and peace.
In the meantime, we must strengthen our bonds with the one true democracy in the Middle East, a country and people who share our values. Recognizing Jerusalem as her capital is the right thing to do for our greatest ally in the region—Israel.
This is important to us as Christian leaders because Jerusalem is a very significant city in the Christian faith with many holy sites in it. Only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all peoples of faith.
We want to be clear that tens of millions of Christians in America are in favor of Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem including our revered Mt. of Olives, Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and all of biblical Jerusalem. We are asking you to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and never-to-be-divided-again capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there. Mr. President, please do not sign the waiver again; allow the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act to be implemented! It is with greatest respect and appreciation that we make our request known.