Palestinian Authority Police (file photo).
President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller says, "They've taken it over as a military out-post in their gun battle with the Hamas. This situation is just terribly tragic because for so many Christians that remain in Gaza, this was their only bright light. This was their hope."
That hope has turned to questions, Moeller says. "They're wondering what's becoming of that building as it's now being used by the forces of the Palestinian Authority and of course it'll make it a target for Hamas attacks."
Fatah authorities forcibly took over the building, however no one was injured. According to Moeller the Palestinians are losing a lot. "It's a six story building that houses not only the church, but a mammogram clinic. On the ground floor, there's a public library and then there's a hostel for people who are visiting."
Pastor of the Gaza Baptist Church Hanna Massad is devastated. "He's seen the international restrictions on the economy (which) has affected everyone. He's seen violence tear apart neighborhoods and the sad reality is that he's reporting that this moment, as the church has been taken over, is really the worse situation he's gone through in Gaza."
This isn't the first time the church has been targeted. Moeller says the library has been burned three times.
Unfortunately, there's no hope in sight. Moeller says in every sense, this is a civil war. "Half of the population of the Palestinians support Fatah. The other half of the population supports Hamas. And, all of the Christians are caught in the crossfire."
Despite all of the problems, Christians haven't lost their vision. "Their vision is not to just survive. Their vision is to be the church in Gaza, to reach out with hope and healing and the love of Jesus Christ to their neighbors and even those that persecute them."
A cease-fire was declared Sunday evening, but there was no indication it would be any more successful than previous truces in recent weeks of factional fighting
- God will protect Gaza's believers.
- Believers will experience the power of God's peace. God will give Massad strength and wisdom to minister.
- There will be no gunfire around the church building and that God will protect this building for His glory.