Christians have refused to meet Vice-President Mike Pence over Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Christian communities wrote a letter to Mr Trump pleading with him to think about what he was doing. In the letter, 13 leaders of Palestine's diverse Christian community warned of the danger of going ahead with this announcement.

Mr Trump should have declared West Jerusalem as the Jewish capital and East Jerusalem the Palestinian part of the city. The final status was to be discussed in the Oslo agreement. With Trump's announcement about Jerusalem as Israel's capital, it would seem this has now been scuppered.

Palestine's varied Christian Community

The Holy Sepulchre is believed to be the actual birthplace of Jesus Christ with Armenian, Catholic and Greek Orthodox sharing this place of worship. Other Christian denominations exist too including Baptists, Methodists and Anglicans.

There are also Christians living in Israel proper who by and large are recognised as Israeli citizens. However, some Christians have experienced a harsher side to Israel's tolerance of others.

Many young Christian Palestinians see no future in staying in the West Bank or Gaza with many seeking their fortune abroad.

Christian Zionists and Israel

Evangelical Christians in the US support Israel because they see the formation of a Jewish state as heralding the second coming of Christ. Vice-President Mike Pence is a Zionist Evangelical so it is only natural he would follow this doctrine. Of course, it is unfair to tar all Evangelical Christians as being Zionists.

Non-Zionist Christians around the world regard Zionism as a corruption of Christ's teaching. It seems Zionist Christians ignore or deliberately overlook the fact there have been Christians in Palestine since Christ's ascension. Christians in Palestine and the wider Middle East are frustrated and angry that many western Christians are Zionists.

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In the USA in particular, Zionism has a huge following. People like Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee and Franklin Graham are all passionate evangelical Zionists. Channels like the God channel espouse this doctrine broadcasting live from the heart of Israel.

This poisonous doctrine when enacted as US policy is a worldwide disaster of epic proportions. From the invasion of Iraq to the US support for Israel Christian Zionism has a lot to answer for.