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Jerusalem Dateline: 12/16/16 Will Trump Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?

This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Trump team scopes out possible US embassy sites in Jerusalem; and Netanyahu visits Muslim states; plus ISIS murders dozens of Egyptian Christians in church bombing; and a safe haven for Christians in northern Iraq? Read Transcript


(horn blowing)

(upbeat rock music)

- This week on Jerusalem Dateline,

U.S. President-elect,Donald Trump, is scoping out

where he might put the U.S. Embassy,

if he decides to move it to Jerusalem,

and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu,

developing ties with Muslim nations.

Plus, ISIS claims responsibilityfor murdering dozens

of Christians in anEgyptian church bombing.

And could there be asafe haven for Christians

in the Nineveh Plain?

(upbeat rock music)

Hello, and welcome to thisedition of Jerusalem Dateline.

I'm Chris Mitchell.

President-elect Donald Trumphas nominated his choice

for U.S. ambassador to Israel.

David Friedman'snomination signals to many

that Trump really does intend

to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Even before the nomination,

Trump's transition teamis reportedly exploring

the possibilities of moving the embassy,

and we took a look at a few of the places

they may be considering, andwhat such a move would mean.

(crowds cheering)During his campaign,

Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy

from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway,

reiterated that pledge and said

it's a very big priority for Trump.

Some believe one possible location

for the U.S. Embassy wouldbe at the current site

of the U.S. Citizen Services office.

It's located here, in aJerusalem neighborhood,

and considered a logicalchoice for a future embassy,

but it's not the only potential site.

According to Israel'sChannel 2, another choice:

the area of the nearby Diplomat Hotel,

currently a home for elderly immigrants.

The U.S. owns the property,but not the hotel.

A third site is this abandoned lot

in the busy Talpiotneighborhood, owned by the U.S.

Former Israeli financeminister, Yair Lapid, says

Trump's pledge to move the U.S. Embassy

is an excellent idea.

- It's about time.

We are sitting now in Israel's capital.

- [Chris] According to opinion polls,

Lapid is seen as a top contender

for Israeli prime minister in the future.

In response to a question from CBN News,

Lapid told foreign journalists

that every embassy should be in Jerusalem.

- This is our capital.

We waited 2,000 years to come back here

and we expect the worldto acknowledge this fact

and to recognize Israel,Jerusalem, as our capital

and, therefore, we shouldhave here the embassy.

- [Chris] He related a story

from President Obama'srecent trip to Israel.

- I remember not long ago,on Shimon Peres's funeral,

the White House issued a statement saying

the president was in Jerusalem,and then they change it,

not to mention Jerusalemas the capital of Israel.

And this was in Western Jerusalem.

It wasn't even in Eastern Jerusalem.

And I think this is preposterous.

- [Chris] No country in the world

recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

A State Department official told CBN News,

"Since Israel's founding,

"administrations of bothparties have maintained

"a consistent policyof recognizing no state

"as having sovereignty over Jerusalem.

"We remain committed tothis long-standing policy."

But, in 1995, the U.S. Congress passed

the Jerusalem Embassy Act,

mandating the move of the U.S. Embassy

from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

So far, every presidenthas avoided the move,

citing security concerns andsigning a special waiver.

Moving the embassy wouldn'tmake everyone happy.

- There will be happinesson the Israeli side.

There will be unhappiness onthe Arab-Palestinian side.

There may be riots, there may be violence.

- Some say the move mustcome in the wider context

of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Others believe Jerusalem is Israel's

eternal, undivided capital.

In the meantime, manysay, if the move is ever

going to happen, Trump isthe one to get the job done.

Moving the embassy toJerusalem would be a bold move.

Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu says

he believes President-elect Trump

will be supportive of Israel.

In an interview with theCBS News program 60 Minutes,

Netanyahu told Lesley Stahl

that he would stand up for Israel,

no matter who is in the White House.

- I know Donald Trump.

I know him very well.

And I think his attitude,

his support for Israel, it was clear.

He feels very warmlyabout the Jewish state,

about the Jewish people,and about Jewish people.

There's no question about that.

- With Trump, do you thinkthat Israel will not be

as at odds with the UnitedStates as you have been

under the Obama administration?

- Yeah, we had differencesof opinions with,

I had differences of opinionwith President Obama,

and most well-known, of course, is Iran.

- Was it personal between the two of you?

- No, no, I don't think so.

I think that, suppose we had the greatest

of personal chemistry, okay?

So what, you think I wouldn't stand up

against the Iran dealif I thought, as I did,

that it endangers the existence of Israel?

Of course I would.

- After that 60 Minutes interview,

Netanyahu took an unusual trip,

when he visited theformer Soviet republics

of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

His mission was to advancediplomatic relations,

and discuss regional issues,

and security and economic matters.

Netanyahu visited Azerbaijannearly 20 years ago,

and was the first primeminister of the Jewish state

ever to visit Kazakhstan.

- What you see today, theleaders of a Muslim state

and the leader of a Jewish state,

shaking hands, working to cooperate

to create a better future forthe citizens of our country.

But I think that this exampleof Muslim-Jewish cooperation

is something that reverberatesthroughout the world.

I said to you, as we were walking in here,

that our relations

with our Muslim-Arab neighborsis changing dramatically.

- Israel, at Kazakhstan, signed agreements

on research and development, aviation,

civil service commissions,and agricultural cooperation.

Earlier, he met with theAzerbaijani president,

who highlighted the good relations

between the Jews and the Azerbaijanis.

- For centuries, Jews and Azerbaijanis

lived in peace, friendship,and continue to live

here in Azerbaijan, andthe Jewish community

of Azerbaijan is a veryactive part of our society.

They contribute a lot

to the development of modern Azerbaijan,

and these close relationsbetween our people

is a very important factorin our bilateral relations.

- The Azerbaijani president revealed

that his country has defensecontracts with Israel,

for nearly $5 billion.

On a more somber note,Egyptian President el-Sisi

declared a three-day mourning period,

after one of the worst terrorattacks in recent history

struck a Christian Coptic church in Cairo,

killing dozens and wounding nearly 50.

ISIS claimed responsibilityfor the attack,

and threatened to continue its war

against what it calls apostates.

Eyewitnesses said a womanplanted a bag filled

with more than 25 pounds ofexplosives inside the church.

The explosion rippedthrough Saint Peter's,

located next to the main Coptic cathedral.

- (speaking in foreign language)

- [Chris] This man said,"The columns were smoldering.

"People strewn on thefloor and on the walls.

"Everything was broken."

Most of the dead were women and children

at a Sunday service.

One eyewitness said, "They were children.

"What had they done to deserve this?

"I wish I had died with them,

"instead of seeing these scenes."

The Coptic Orthodox Churchreleased a statement

on its Facebook page, saying, in part,

"As we are bereaved by this violence

"and terrorism that attacked worshipers,

"we pray for these martyrsand for the wounded.

"The Egyptian church stresseson preserving national unity

"that keeps all Egyptianson Egypt's blessed land."

(shouts in foreign language)

After the attack, demonstrators gathered.

They protested against terrorism,

and demanded national unity.

Coptic Christians make upabout 10% of Egyptians,

and the bombing demonstratedthe danger they face.

For example, in 2013, CBN News reported

that the Muslim Brotherhoodburned a number of churches,

Christian businesses,and even an orphanage.

President el-Sisi said areligious war is being waged,

and vowed to hunt down the attackers.

The Coptic pope, Tawadros, plans to return

from a state visit topreside over the funerals

of more than two dozen Christians.

(upbeat rock music)

Coming up, a possiblesafe haven for Christians

in the ancient Ninevah Plain.

(electric guitar strumming)

Welcome back.

The Kurdish military has begun to liberate

many Christian villagesand towns captured by ISIS.

But many Christians arehesitant to return home,

over fear it could happen again.

On my recent trip to northern Iraq,

I visited the Ankawa refugee camp,

and heard about the concernsof Christians there,

and about a plan to set up a safe haven

in the area where the prophetJonah warned the people.

Today, the Christian townof Qaraqosh is free of ISIS,

for the first time in more than two years.

It will require massive rebuilding,

and, as Sister Diana of theNinevah Relief Organization

told CBN News, it also needs security.

- It's number one priority,because, if it's not safe,

even if we, everything is provided,

from the infrastructure,from the facility,

from the service, butnumber one is the security.

What's the point ofcoming back, rebuilding,

and then another group willcome and force us to leave,

and if not forcing us to leave,

maybe worse could happen, too.

So, we need something tangible,

something that it tellsus, "You're gonna be safe."

- [Chris] That's becauseISIS, also known as Daesh,

is only the latest group totarget these Iraqi Christians.

- It's a continuouspersecution, since 2003.

With the emerge of Daesh,

this was really shown, was felt deeply.

Villages are empty now,probably destroyed.

The heritage is gone.

The past and all of thesegood and strong memories,

it's not there anymore.

- The numbers back up their fear.

Constant attacks havecaused the population

of Iraqi Christians to drop,from 1.5 million in 2003

to less than 300,000 in 2016.

This is the Ashti refugee camp

in the Ankawa neighborhood,just outside of Erbil.

It's where thousands ofChristians have lived,

since ISIS forced them toflee, more than two years ago.

Now there's proposalsto establish a safe zone

for Christians and other ethnic groups

in the plains of Ninevah.

U.S. Congressman JeffFortenberry of Nebraska

introduced one proposal, saying, in part,

"The indigenous communities ofIraq's Ninevah plain region,

"Assyrian, Chaldean,Syriac Christians, Yazidis,

"and others, have a right to security."

House Resolution 152 would support

the Iraqi creation of a safezone, allow for autonomy,

and commit the international community

to help maintain the security.

They envision a three-levelsecurity system,

with a local Christian militia,

the Iraqi army or Kurdish military,

and an international rapid response unit.

- Because without this,

the cradle of Christianity will be done.

Christian will not be ableto live in Middle East,

not only in Iraq, in a whole Middle East.

- [Chris] Assyrian Aid Society president,

Ashur Eskrya, says, "Christiansare not new to the land."

- It's important, because it'sa Christian indigenous land.

Iraq and Middle East, we arenot visitor here. (laughs)

Because, sometimes, people, they think,

that we are (laughs) not from this land,

because now we are alreadylike minorities in this region.

- [Chris] Sister Diana warns

her church is in danger of disappearing.

- If the Syria Catholic Churchdoes not come back here,

we're gonna be spread all over the world,

and, few years, there would not be

a Syria Catholic Church in Iraq.

- [Chris] Steve Rasche iswith the Chaldean church.

For security reasons,we won't show his face.

He says discouragement can be a killer.

- I think one of the dangers, in the West,

is we look at these peoplefrom afar, and we say,

"Well, nobody's tryingto kill them today."

"They're living in a tent.

"They're getting some kind of food."

Which is all fine, if you don't care

about whether or not theysurvive as a community.

In keeping them alive in a situation

where they've got no hope,they've got no future,

what's more cruel, you know?

They're dying either way.

They're dying inside.

- [Chris] Ithara, amother of three daughters,

echoes that feeling, and has a message

for mothers in the West.

- [Female Translator] For all the mothers

that hear me today, we tellthem we need a quiet life.

We need a safe life,for us and our children.

- [Chris] Bishop Wardaagrees with a safe zone,

but also says it needs to be personal.

- We need also a processof reconciliation,

among all the componentsof the Iraqi society

and the people of Ninevah Plain,

because, to be victim, it's one issue.

And also to victimizeothers in retaliation,

this will not bring peace and stability.

- However you find such opportunity...

- [Chris] In the meantime,

Christians go on with their lives.

Sister Diana led this graduation ceremony

for those learning Englishas a second language.

It's been a tough time,

but they said they look to their savior.

- The Jesus not forget us, forever.

The Jesus with us all the time.

- I'm not gonna lie to you,I cried a lot of nights.

And praying to Jesus wasabsolutely, it helped me a lot.

- [Chris] Rasche toldCBN News what he believes

Christians in the West need to know.

- [Rasche] Don't forget them.

Don't give up on them.

They're still here,and there's still hope.

But there's only hope if therest of the world's Christians

continue to show solidarity with them.

- We need your support;we need your prayer.

We need your voice.

We need raising awareness,and keep telling the story.

(upbeat rock music)

- [Chris] Up next, how onechurch is helping refugees

right in their hometown.

(electric guitar strumming)

Welcome back to Jerusalem Dateline.

While politicians have been debating

about the Syrian refugee crisis,

the church has often steppedin to provide real solutions.

CBN correspondent AbigailRobertson shows us

how one congregationin Washington is doing

what they believe the Bibleis calling them to do,

loving their neighbors.

- This may look like aregular prayer meeting,

but those being prayedover might surprise you.

A Muslim family recentlyresettled from Syria,

who left their country whenISIS invaded their hometown

and gunned down many of their neighbors.

The family buried their16-year-old son alive

for hours during the raid, to protect him

from being forcibly recruitedto the terrorist organization.

(man shouts in foreign language)

(bomb exploding)

Members from NationalCommunity Church have gathered

to listen to the family's story

and learn more about why theyfled to the United States.

Have you ever met anySyrian refugees before?

- No.- I don't think so.

- Media gives a lot of,"These are bad people.

"Watch out for them."

You know, all sorts of danger, and...

I just know that it's not true.

- [Abigail] Pastor DaveSchmidgall and his wife, Kate,

met the family shortly afterthey arrived in the U.S.

They spoke no English, and were placed

in the expensive city of Washington, D.C.

The resettlement agency covered expenses

for only three months.

The father, Bashir, once anelectrician, now feels helpless.

- In Syria, he was very strong.

He was a provider.

He had a sure skill set and a profession.

Here he feels lost.

He's working really hard to learn English,

but the pressure to get financialsecurity is pretty strong.

- [Abigail] Kate and Daverealized two major things

missing in Bashir's family'sresettlement process:

friendships and income.

They opened up theirhome to host this event,

which solved both those issues,

and gave the church an opportunity

to put a face to the crisis.

- What's missing is friendship,

it's relationship, it's a meal.

- [Abigail] Those attendingnot only met the family,

they learned to make a Syrian dish

called labneh, a type of cheese.

Each person also gave moneytoward the family's rent.

- It was so simple, like,

we're just making cheese,

and they're just sharing their stories,

and we're just praying for them,

and just to see God's hands and feet

in action here tonight was really cool.

- [Abigail] But whatyou see happening here

is easier said than done.

- Across the nation, 73%,just the general population,

avoids or is uncomfortable withconversations with Muslims.

It takes a little bit of risk

to cut past the rhetoric and the opinions,

to get involved in areasthat are controversial,

but there are people behindthese topics and these issues.

- [Abigail] Lead Pastor MarkBatterson found that out

after his wife returned froma refugee missions trip.

- Her heart started to break

for what I believebreaks the heart of God.

And when your wife

has a heart for something,

as her husband, you get a heart for it.

- [Abigail] Pastor Batterson believes,

if churches move past the politics,

they could change thecourse of this crisis.

- Sometimes we confuse

political issues with biblical issues.

My hope and prayerwould be that the church

would recognize that this isone of the greatest crisis

of our generation, andhow we respond to it

might just define ourfuture as the church.

- NCC plans to host moreLISTEN + LEARN events

with different refugeefamilies in the future.

As for Bashir, he starteda handyman service,

with the help of Kate, in hopes of one day

becoming self-sufficient in America.

Reporting from Washington,Abigail Robertson, CBN News.

(upbeat rock music)

- [Chris] Coming up, seehow one little Syrian girl

refugee in Lebanon got a newchance for a brighter future.

(electric guitar strumming)

Welcome back to Jerusalem Dateline.

We've seen how a church in Washington

is helping one refugee familywho immigrated to the U.S.

But, as we know, there aremany more in the Middle East

that are also in desperate straits.

Here's the story of how Christians

helped one little girlget just what she needed.

- [Presenter] Dailylife for Syrian refugees

in Lebanon is rough enough,

but it's especially difficult for Rahaf,

who struggles just to see.

- [Female Translator] Sometimes,she will trip and fall,

just trying to walk.

Kids in the camp tease Rahaf

and called her the crossed-eyed girl.

I try to comfort her, butI knew she was suffering,

and there was nothing I could do.

- [Presenter] Rahaf's mother told me

how their family was forced torun from their home in Syria,

because of the civil war.

Dodging bombs and sniper bullets,

they came to Lebanon,hoping to start a new life.

But the Lebanese government

won't let Syrian refugees get jobs.

- [Female Translator] Weare not allowed to work,

but we still have to pay rentto keep our tent in this camp.

We're in so much debt,(baby crying)

and we can't even afford food,

(baby crying)much less the surgery

needed to fix Rahaf's eyes.

- [Presenter] When Heart for Lebanon,

which is supported by CBN, foundout about Rahaf's problems,

together, we got her thecorrective eye surgery she needed.

Now, Rahaf is able to studyat the Heart for Lebanon

Hope Center, a school forSyrian refugee children.

Here, with the support of CBN,

they're learning math,Arabic, and English.

- [Female Translator]I'm really happy now,

because I can see to read and write.

I can even play outside with my friends

without falling down.

(children shouting and playing)

- [Female Translator] Rahafhas become a different person,

since the operation.

You have given her a future.

She smiles a lot now,

and that brings joy to our whole family.

- [Presenter] The children at the center

also get to watch Superbook in Arabic,

and learn about Jesus Christ.

- [Female Translator] I love Jesus,

because he forgave us of our sins.

He has been with me and protected me,

during the war, and all the bad times.

(child praying in foreign language)

- [Presenter] CBN and Heart for Lebanon

give food to Rahaf's family

and thousands of othersin the refugee camps.

- [Female Translator]You are the only ones

that have truly cared forus and the other refugees.

The kids are so happy, when you come,

and we always talk abouthow amazing the food is,

while we prepare it.

We sit down to a meal, and we say,

"God, please bless these people,as they are blessing us."

- I want to thank Heartfor Lebanon and CBN,

from all my heart.

- Well, that's one of the happiest stories

in the Middle East today.

That's all for this edition.

Thanks for joining us,

and remember to pray forthe peace of Jerusalem,

and for our persecutedbrothers and sisters,

and refugees in need.

Remember, you can follow us on Facebook

and Twitter and Instagram.

I'm Chris Mitchell.

We'll see you next time,on Jerusalem Dateline.

(upbeat rock music)

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