Middle East on the brink of war; believers in the crossfire.

By July 17, 2006

Israel (MNN)–Israel has intensified her assault on Gaza, while at the same time escalating the military action in Lebanon.

Open Doors’ Carl Moeller says the Christian community there is facing a grim reality. “The extremism of the Hamas and Fatah factions that has polarized the internal relationships in Gaza have created a terrible vise, in which the remaining Christians in the Gaza strip have been caught.”

Moeller says they’re committed to supporting the remnant church in the region, because: “Who else can speak to the warring factions, both internally among the Fatah and the Hamas in Gaza, and also between the extremist Muslims and the Israelis?”

Open Doors team members observed an inclination for extremism and a cycle of hatred that is difficult to break.
“At the schoolyard, the result is shown as well,” said Amin, a Christian who runs children’s programs at schools. “The sense of honor sits very deep inside children. The worst that can happen to you is to get beaten by someone. That is so humiliating. You have to take revenge with your friends. Once you have a fight with someone, you keep on fighting. Children in Gaza can’t forgive each other, not even minor mistakes. Why not? Because they don’t hear God’s words. The language of love is not spoken here. In our programs, we do speak about loving and forgiving. Gradually you see them change.”

Moeller says there are some who stayed behind because, “The prince of peace, Jesus Christ, has planted his church there to be agents of peace. Without a Christian community, there’s almost no one who can speak to both sides.”

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