Gaza Baptist Church released.

By February 14, 2007

Middle East (MNN) — Gaza's
Fatah-controlled police force has removed all officers stationed in Gaza
building.   Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza's only evangelical church, told Open Doors that the
soldiers left following a much celebrated accord between rival factions in Gaza.

Under it, the Palestinian Prime Minister and his Hamas-led
cabinet will resign by February 15th to make way for a unity government with
the rival Fatah faction.  His resignation
will pave the way to a new government that he'll lead, according to the terms
of a deal.  It's an effort to end
factional warfare in Gaza
and ease an economic embargo on the Palestinian Authority.

Open Doors' Al Janssen says, unlike its eight predecessors,
this one has a chance to succeed.   "I think the difference is the location
where it took place; it was right across the street from the most holy site in
Islam, and it was brokered by the king of Saudi Arabia. 
I think those two things together would make it a lot harder for the leadership
to easily break that accord." 

The church finally held morning and evening services on
Sunday, Feb. 11. Massad said that damage to the building includes three broken
windows, one of them shattered by celebratory fire after Fatah and Hamas
announced its latest cease fire, and the church's door, which police smashed to
enter the building.

peace remains fragile. There's a long way to go toward seeing the peace hold. 
Janssen urges prayer for those whose physical needs are giving way to
desperation. "It's hard for the church to reach out and be a healing
force in the community when many of its members haven't even had their own
needs met.  We're hoping that we can help in some way with that so that
people can go back to being salt and light in that dark situation."

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