Today, the US State Department announced that it will no longer use the term “settlements” to describe Judea and Samaria, a term employed by the UN. In my view, this decision means that the United States has decided that the Bible, in terms of Israel, is not illegal.
Why is this a big deal? This is a major blow to the BDS movement, which calls to “boycott, divest and sanction” the State of Israel, in addition to being a snub to the recent call by the European Court of Justice to label products from Jewish businesses in Judea and Samaria. The court ruled that: “Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin.”
Regrettably, Jew-haters are able to use the land to mobilize support in their favor, resulting in the United Nations referring to this as “occupied territory” and demanding that Israel relinquish it to hostile forces.
For Evangelical Christians and Israel supporters, however, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) has been the “Bible land” for thousands of years; it was never illegal. The promises read by Christians and Jews were that God gave it to Israel and called it an “eternal covenant.”
Most Christians and Jews in America grow up reading the Bible, which recounts the history of Judea and Samaria. They read of Hebron (Kiryath Arba) where Abraham purchased land with which to bury his wife Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as Rebekah and Leah were also buried there. In it was King David’s first capital, where he was also anointed as king.
Bethel was the site where Jacob dreamed of seeing angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven. It is in the heart of what is called the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria.
Former prime minister Menachem Begin, with whom I worked, said that he informed then-president Jimmy Carter at Camp David that the Bible was his mandate. Israel's prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, also stated that the Bible was his mandate.
Begin told me that he had brought a list to Carter of cities in the US named after Bethlehem. He had also told the president, “If the Governor of Pennsylvania insisted that only Caucasians could reside in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, would you say he was a racist? The original Bethlehem is in our Bible land; to tell me Jews cannot live there is racist!”
When President Donald Trump arrived in Jerusalem for Israel’s 50th Anniversary, Friends of Zion, my organization with its 67 million followers, had billboards spread around the city declaring: “Trump, Make Israel Great” and “Trump is a Friend of Zion.” Little did anyone realize how much this president would do for Israel. Not only did he recognize Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, he shut down the PLO office in Washington, stopped the funding of the PA through the Taylor Force Act, and closed its consul in Jerusalem. And now, he has removed the anti-Israel declaration calling Judean and Samarian Bible lands “settlements.”
Former president Harry S. Truman is in history books for one reason above all; he recognized the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948. Donald Trump continues to make history. For both Jews and Evangelical Christians, Trump has completed a fulfillment of prophecy.
Among the most powerful groups in the United States is the pro-Israel Evangelicals who consider these to be Bible lands, not “settlements.” We believe one of the reasons America has been blessed over the years is because we have stood with Israel. This promise is taken from Genesis 12:3: ‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ And so, for biblical reasons first and foremost, we support the State of Israel.
For humanitarian reasons, we support the Jewish people. For historical reasons, we believe that the land of the Bible belongs to the Jewish people.
America has a strong interest in the Middle East. We believe that the nation of Israel is the key to that interest because of our common bonds, our common values, our common beliefs in social justice, and the godly principles on which our two countries were founded. Israel is the firewall between radical Islam and the West.
Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 98 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late president Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chairman. He also serves as a founding member on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative and has 67 million Facebook followers on the Jerusalem Prayer Team.