Middle East (MNN) — During last week's visit to the Middle East, the pope declared his support for a
two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. U.S. President Barack Obama also supports a
Sadly, however, there is no easy solution, says Tom Doyle, Middle
East director with E3 Partners. The "abysmal failure" of the Gaza Strip has
already shown that if a Palestinian state falls into the wrong hands, everyone
will suffer. Palestinian Christians in Gaza
have become a target for the terrorist groups and have suffered greatly
pulled out of in 2006.
"The pope says the answer to the Middle East problem is
giving the Palestinians the West Bank," said Doyle. "I would say the problems are much
larger than the West Bank and much deeper, and the Gaza failure has proven that this theory is
probably not going to work. Israelis need security from terrorism, and so do
Palestinians, especially the Christians."
Although radical terrorist groups also believe that a
Palestinian state is "the answer to everything," Doyle said, other residents of
the region are not so sure.
"People on both sides of the fence, Christians and Muslims,
are frightened because they don't know what this second state's going to bring
about," he said. Palestinians do want
their own state, and they believe that's what their society needs. However, they also really don't want to live
in a place like the Gaza Strip, where the terrorists care more about bombing Israel then
they do about the lives of the people they govern.
gave over the Gaza
strip, Hamas became the leadership government," Doyle explained. "They don't build hospitals, they don't build
roads, they don't do anything… And they have reintroduced Islamic sharia law to Gaza."
Life is already difficult in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, especially for Christians. Talk of a Palestinian state has led to a
"rise of boldness among Islamic terrorists," Doyle said.
"The church in the West Bank
has to take a lot of precautions; they have to be careful. The church is very underground at this point,
and that's where it needs to be, for safety," he said, adding that the situation in Gaza is even worse.
Gaza and the West Bank aren't the only areas of the world suffering
from increased terrorism–especially terrorism aimed at Christians.
"Globally, there's a rise in fundamental Islam that is
growing its terrorist ring, whether it's in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, or
even in places like the West Bank," Doyle explained. "We are talking with people on the ground who are telling us they're seeing more boldness with terrorists, more plans to
continue the terrorism. So personally, I
just don't think that any of that is going to stop because of a two-state
The situation in Gaza
has clearly shown that a Palestinian state controlled by terrorists would not
bring peace to the region. In fact,
Doyle said that Hamas has already explained what it would do after the creation
of a Palestinian state: it plans to
cooperate for a little while, and then continue its attacks on Israel.
Ultimately, Doyle believes that the root of
the problem is spiritual and not political, and it requires a spiritual
"It's spiritual warfare, and spiritual problems cannot be
solved politically" he said. "We believe
there needs to be heart changes. So when
we see Palestinian believers worshipping with Jewish Messianic believers, and
they love the Lord together and they worship together and they're encouraging
each other, that's really the hope of the future."
In the meantime, Doyle called for Christians to pray for their brothers and
sisters around the world threatened by terrorism, as persecution rises to new
levels in many countries. "We need to lift them up during this
brutal time that they're going through right now, asking God to give them peace,
protection, and the boldness to keep serving Christ and sharing the Gospel in
the midst of these really difficult situations."