Few Christian leaders express surprise at the fractious relations between Christians over the Holy Land, given that they squabble not only over their visions of God but also over holy sites, including Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where monks and clerics from different denominations have literally exchanged blows over rival claims to chapels and annexes of the church.
"There are issues like gay rights, gay ordination and abortion that are splitting the churches, and Israel seems to be one of these issues," says David Parsons, spokesman for the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, a Christian Zionist organization supporting Israel.
There is little dialogue between the competing groups, though they are quick to fault one another for being blind to suffering on the opposing side: the Protestant groups for failing to acknowledge Israelis' hardships and the Christian Zionists for ignoring the struggles of Palestinians.
The Rev. Naim Ateek, an Anglican priest and director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in East Jerusalem, dismisses Christian Zionism as a "heresy," saying it uses the Bible as an instrument of oppression by supporting the occupation of Palestinian territories.
"It's sad that these Christians have not captured the spirit of Christ," says Ateek. "The Bible is about the God who breaks the bow and arrow and breaks the chariots of war to release the people. It's about a God who has great compassion. I see who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed. We work for peace that will bring the oppressor and oppressed together."
Ateek has helped promote the campaign for divestiture. He is also a tireless critic of the Christian Zionists: "For many years, the mainline churches dismissed the evangelical, pro-Israel Christians. We did not take them seriously. Today, whether we like it or not, these people with their theology are an obstacle to peace."
Ray Sanders, international director of the Christian Friends of Israel, one of the most active Christian Zionist organizations in Jerusalem, views Ateek and his followers with no less suspicion.
"They are so contrary to what we believe that the scriptures support that we feel they are deceived," says Sanders, a minister trained by Christ for the Nations Bible College in Dallas, Texas. He moved to Israel in 1985 to start his pro-Israel organization.
"The spirit that emanates from that group and groups like it are very hard," he says. "Anti-Semitic would be the best way to describe it."
Parsons interprets the surge in activity by the so-called pro-Palestinian Christian groups as a last gasp of a group of left-wing Protestant churches that are in trouble.
"What's in ascendance in the wider Christian world is the biblical significance of the return of the Jews to the [Holy] Land," he says. "The Christian Zionist movement is growing and growing while those churches are losing members, losing influence in world affairs and their ranks are shrinking."
The story of Christian Friends of Israel is a testament to the growing strength of the Christian Zionist movement. Begun 20 years ago by Sanders and his wife in a one-room office, it now occupies a three-story building in downtown Jerusalem.
On a recent morning, dozens of volunteers worked in a warren of offices, reaching out to Holocaust victims to record their stories, assisting new immigrants and offering comfort to victims of suicide bombings.
Others were busy preparing for a conference in June, which will bring hundreds of Christians to visit Jewish settlements in the West Bank and meet with Israeli politicians and victims of Palestinian attacks.
Karen Lewis is a sharply dressed, soft-spoken Midwesterner who runs Project David's Shield, which supports Israeli soldiers, from her third-story office decorated with a menorah and a shelf full of citations and awards from the Israeli army.
Lewis first visited Jerusalem as a tourist in 1993, when she happened to meet members of Christian Friends of Israel. Moved by their work, she returned to Israel in 1997 as a volunteer for six months, sorting through donated clothes at the organization's distribution center. Though frightened by a wave of suicide bombings during her stay, she said God had called her to work here.
"The Lord asked me was I willing to identify myself with the Jews," she recalls. "Are you willing to live with them and be part of what they suffer?"
In 1999, she moved to Jerusalem permanently and since then has organized eight teams of volunteers from the United States and other countries to travel to the West Bank and paint military bases and supply soldiers with gift bags on major Jewish holidays.
She says she is motivated by her unwavering support for Israel, which she believes was established as an act of God after the Holocaust. Like many Christian Zionists, she believes that Jews will one day accept Jesus as their savior.
"God is bringing His people back to Him, reminding them who they are," she said.