This article was first published at Christianity Today, on December 5.
President Donald Trump is expected tomorrow to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Doing so would fulfill a campaign promise. It would upend decades of American foreign policy.
And it would simultaneously encourage and unnerve the Christians of the Middle East.
“I am obviously pleased, as an Israeli,” said David Friedman, a professor at the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute and former dean of King of Kings College in Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, de facto, concretely. Our government sits there. So why should President Trump continue ignoring reality?”
But 65 miles north in Arab-majority Nazareth, another Christian educator has a dramatically different response.
“It is a bad idea,” said Botrus Mansour, a Baptist elder and co-chair of the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. “It will increase resentment and possibly spark unnecessary violence, making peace harder to obtain.
“America will lose any remaining legitimacy it had as a fair broker.”
Israel occupied Arab East Jerusalem in 1967, and passed a law in 1980 declaring the city its eternal, united, and undivided capital. The United Nations declared the act null and void, by a unanimous resolution in which the United States abstained.
Palestine also desires Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. So American policy has been…
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