Key Trump ally urges president to drop 'land for peace' formula

President of Family Research Center Tony Perkins, a key Trump ally in Evangelical community, urges Trump not to impose settlement freeze.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Tony Perkins (right) with Yossi Dagan (left)
Tony Perkins (right) with Yossi Dagan (left)

The president of the Family Research Council, a prominent conservative think-tank associated with the American Religious Right, has called on President Donald Trump to drop the land-for-peace formula as a basis for a final status agreement between Israel and the Arab world.

Tony Perkins, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who since 2003 has headed the conservative Family Research Council, penned a joint opinion piece with Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan this week praising President Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and urging the president not to impose a settlement freeze on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

On Monday, Perkins and Dagan wrote in The Washington Times praising Trump as “perhaps the most pro-Israel president ever,” lauding his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory.

“Under President Trump, the world sees and understands that the United States is a true friend of Israel. Whether it was moving the U.S. embassy to and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, straightforwardly dealing with the threat posed by Iran, or acknowledging the sovereignty of Israel over its land, Mr. Trump is making history as perhaps the most pro-Israel president ever.”

Perkins and Dagan urged Trump, however, not to rely on the land-for-peace formula – the basis of previous US-backed peace plans – in his soon-to-be released framework for a final status agreement, dubbed the ‘Deal of the Century’.

“Trump’s decisive actions related to Israel have brought a new level of respect for the United States in the region, and greater stability, and it has resulted in peak approval ratings among evangelicals and others who care about the Holy Land. The Trump administration should stay the course, continuing to avoid the ‘land for peace’ proposals, and the policies that have prevented Israelis from building in Judea and Samaria, which have repeatedly failed to work. This looks even more sensible in light of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent pledge to extend sovereignty over these areas.”

Perkins is considered a key Trump ally in the Evangelical Christian community, and was a strong backer of the president during his 2016 campaign. Evangelical support for Trump surpassed support for previous Republican candidates, despite criticism of Trump’s past support for legalized abortion and two divorces – one of them resulting from a much-publicized affair with Marla Maples. While Mitt Romney won the White Evangelical vote by a 58-point margin, 78-to-20, Trump won Evangelical Whites by 64 points, 80% to 16%.

Last May, Trump appointed Perkins to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.