Dr. Mike Evans, founder of Friends of Zion Museum and a member of the Trump Faith Initiative, says he supports President Donald Trump's proposed Israel-Palestine peace plan, though he does not expect Palestine to accept the deal. Evans says he gave input to Trump's team regarding the deal.
Trump unveiled the plan Tuesday afternoon, which proposes a two-state solution that would create a Palestinian state with more than double the amount of land Palestinians currently occupy. However, the land is significantly less than Palestinians hoped to receive from the deal and does not include concessions of the Israeli capital. Analysts predict this will render the plan unlikely to be accepted by Palestinians.
Evans told Charisma News in a phone interview that he believes the Palestinians would "not presently" accept Trump's deal.
"I think you've got to look at the reality," Evans says. "The reality is that in the Palestinian territory, you've got terror regimes in Palestine. It's a Palestinian Al-Qaeda, and it's anti-Semitic. They're not going to change in the near future. ... It may take a decade before the palm is embraced. But I think the president has done more than a plan; he's laid out a vision, a vision for their future, for prosperity and dignity, and how they can get there realistically."
Evans stresses, however, that the term "two states" should be used loosely, as Palestine would not be a "traditional state." For this reason, he believes Christians need not object to the plan.
"You have to understand what [Trump] means by two states," Evans says. "Number one, there is nothing in the peace plan that gives the Palestinians air space. They get no air space. Secondly, they get no army. They can't have an army. And thirdly, they can't have treaties. So, if you want to call it a state—without airspace, armies or treaties—you can, but it's not going to be a traditional state. So it's not two states, like Israel being one state and [Palestine being] a state with an army. It's not going to happen. They're going to be an autonomous home, where they can call it their state, but Israel's still going to control the security."
Evans also addressed confusion regarding whether the plan divides Jerusalem in two. Some reporting on the plan has described "Eastern Jerusalem" as becoming the Palestinian capital, but Evans says the Palestinians are actually receiving Abu Dis, which he says is in the proximity of Eastern Jerusalem but is not considered to be a part of Jerusalem itself.
"Concerning the matter of Jerusalem, it's very important people understand [Trump] is not saying Jerusalem will be divided," Evans says. "Under his plan, all of Jerusalem will stay in the hands of the Jewish people. Nothing will change for them."
Evans also believes that the plan will be unaffected by news earlier today of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criminal indictment, as both Netanyahu and his political rival—Benny Gantz—have agreed to the terms of Trump's deal. Evans believes it is likely Netanyahu's indictment case will be thrown out of court, calling it "a joke, completely."
He notes that Trump has blessed Israel with his plan, pointing to the legitimacy it extends to contested Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which is often referred to by Israelis as Judea and Samaria).
"It was the biggest gift Trump has ever given the state of Israel because it's, number one, the issue Israel has fought over," Evans says. "Other governments have all claimed the settlements in Judea and Samaria were illegal. ... What Donald Trump has done concerning the Judea and Samaria battle is what he did with the Golan Heights: He took it off the table."
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