Influential American evangelist Pat Robertson said yesterday that Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem that if President George W. Bush were to “touch” the city, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.
Evangelical Christians – estimated an tens of millions in the U.S. – overwhelmingly support Bush for his pro-Israel policies, Robertson told a Jerusalem news conference yesterday. But if Bush shifted his position toward support for Jerusalem as a capital for both Israel and a Palestinian state, his Evangelical backing would disappear, Robertson warned.
“The president has backed away from [the road map], but if he were to touch Jerusalem, he’d lose all Evangelical support,” Robertson said. “We would form a third party” because although people “don’t know about” Gaza, Jerusalem is an entirely different matter.
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Robertson, an outspoken supporter of Israel who is in the country to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, also added that visitors to Israel should not be overly critical of the government’s political decisions.
He has refrained from overtly criticizing Israel’s disengagement plan and says only that he hopes the “Israeli people will make the right decision” in matters of concessions.
“It is unwise for a visitor from America to get involved in Israeli politics,” he stated at the press conference in the capital’s International Convention Center.
Together with an estimated 5,000 Christians from around the world, Robertson has been touring Israel this week, in an effort to support and pray for the people of Israel. He led a prayer service on Sunday outside the Knesset, where he blasted Hezbollah, Hamas, and the idea of jihad.
“Arab nations want a conflict and want to keep the suffering of people in Gaza,” he said. “They don’t want peace; they want the destruction of Israel.”
Robertson urged that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) be abolished, given what he called the organization’s active role in the “perpetuation” of the Palestinian refugee problem. He warned that a Palestinian state would become “a constant source of irritation” that would “endanger the territorial integrity” of Israel.