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Texas pastor: Cut off aid if Palestinians go to UN

Courtesy of: The Jerusalem Post:

By abandoning negotiations, Palestinians are violating their obligations under Oslo, says John Hagee, head of Christians United for Israel.

Pastor John Hagee, one of America’s most prominent Christian leaders, has called on Washington to halt all aid to the Palestinian Authority in the event it seeks UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

Hagee, who heads Christians United for Israel (CUFI), also expressed concern about the Palestinian record on human rights and their treatment of the Christian population in areas under their control.

“CUFI has called for the US to cut off all aid to the PA if they move forward with a unilateral declaration of independence through the UN,” Hagee told The Jerusalem Post.

“The only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through direct negotiations between the parties,” he said, adding that, “by abandoning the negotiations and seeking a solution from the UN, the Palestinians are violating their obligations under Oslo and risking a return to violence.”

Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, which has 20,000 members.

Under his leadership, CUFI has grown to include more than 700,000 supporters, making it the largest pro-Israel organization in the US.

Hagee also voiced sharp criticism of the “hypocrisy” of various countries “who call for a negotiated resolution to the conflict one day, and then support unilateral Palestinian independence on the next.”

“This unilateral Palestinian action is not about peace, it’s about the further isolation and delegitimization of Israel. We must vigorously oppose it.”

Taking part in American broadcaster Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage rally, Hagee said he was alarmed by the treatment meted out to Christians in various Arab countries as well as areas under Palestinian control.

“I’m definitely concerned about the fate of Christians throughout the Middle East. Christians are under attack in Iraq and Egypt, in Gaza and Bethlehem,” he said. “The only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is protected – and growing – is Israel,” Hagee said. “If the PA cannot even respect the human rights of its own population, how will they ever be capable of real peace with Israel?” Asked about the state of relations between Christians and Jews, he said he believes they “are evolving extremely well.”

“As a Christian and a Zionist I am deeply pained by the tragic history of Christian anti-Semitism, and I’m well aware of the legacy of distrust that it’s left. I completely understand why members of the Jewish community often approach us Christians with some trepidation.”

But, he says, the relationship has undergone important changes of late.

“As we’ve gotten to know each other better during the course of recent years, many prejudices and misconceptions have melted away,” he said.

“Christians and Jews are finally focusing on what unites us instead of on what we’ve allowed to separate us. It is about time. Whereas suspicion was the rule ten years ago, I would say that it is the exception today.”