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Robertson: If Bush 'Touches' Jerusalem, We'll Form 3rd Party.

By Ha'aretz

Influential American evangelist Pat Robertson said Monday that Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem, that if President George W. Bush were to "touch" Jerusalem, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.

Evangelical Christians - estimated at tens of millions of Americans - overwhelmingly support Bush for his pro-Israel policies, Robertson told a Jerusalem news conference Monday. 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 indicated. "The President has backed away from [the road map], but if he were to touch Jerusalem, he'd lose all Evangelical support. Evangelicals would form a third party because, though people don't know about Gaza, Jerusalem is an entirely different matter.

Robertson, an outspoken supporter of Israel who is in the country to celebrate Sukkoth, 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 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan and says only that he hopes the "Israeli people will make the right decision" in matters of territorial concessions. "It is unwise for a visitor from America to get involved in Israeli politics," he stated at a press conference in the capital's International Convention Center.

Together with an estimated 5,000 Christians from around the world, Robertson has been touring the Holy Land this week, in effort to support and pray for the people of Israel. He led a prayer service on Sunday outside the Knesset, where he blasted Hizbullah, 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...

"I see the rise of Islam to destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasir Arafat. I see that as Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord," said Robertson, a Christian broadcaster. In two Jerusalem appearances, Robertson Sunday praised Israel as part of God's plan and criticized Arab countries and some Muslims, saying their hopes to include Israeli-controlled land in a Palestinian state are part of "Satan's plan."

Robertson, who has made critical statements of Islam in the past, called Israel's Arab neighbors "a sea of dictatorial regimes." He said he "sends notice" to Osama bin Laden, Arafat and Palestinian militant groups that "you will not frustrate God's plan" to have Jews rule the Holy Land until the Second Coming of Jesus.

"Only God should decide if Israel should relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem," Robertson said, in a reference to Sharon's plan to pull out of Gaza next year. "God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Date:Oct 5, 2004
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