By Mel Frykberg
"RAMALLAH, Jan 19 (IPS) - Humanitarian aid is being rushed into Gaza as Israel and Egypt open their borders temporarily to allow convoys of aid to pass through.....
Elena Qleibo, a Gaza-based aid worker from Oxfam and an ex-Costa Rican ambassador to Israel, said parts of Gaza resembled an apocalypse.
"The destruction wrought on Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, and the Zeitoun suburb in eastern Gaza city is immense," Qleibo told IPS. "The sewage is flowing in the streets. Electricity pylons, water and sewage works, municipal and medical buildings, and homes have been levelled."
Initial estimates state that 15 percent or 20,000 of the Gaza Strip's buildings have been damaged, with nearly 30,000 Palestinians forced to find shelter in UN Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) shelters and with family......
Gazans are not blaming Hamas, contrary to Israel's wishes. "People laugh at Israel's claims that this was a war against the Islamic resistance organisation and not one aimed at civilians.
"They see this as a war against all Palestinians. The number of civilians killed and maimed and the destruction wrought was way too extreme," said Qleibo.....
Meanwhile, rescue teams are pulling out bodies from underneath mountains of rubble, something Israeli soldiers stationed in the area previously prevented. Once all bodies are recovered, the death toll may rise significantly. Muawiyah Hassanain, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Health Ministry in Gaza, said that dozens of bodies were extricated on Sunday alone.
The full scale of the horror is yet to be revealed as the international foreign corps based in Israel continues to fight for unrestricted access into Gaza to report first-hand. Israel has enforced a ban for close on two months on all media other than a few handpicked reporters embedded with Israeli forces, who were permitted entry.
"Professionals should be allowed into the battlefield," said Foreign Press Association secretary Glenys Sugarman, unimpressed by the reporters the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson's unit let in. "You can't just send journalists to join the military forces who show them around. That is not independent and open reporting. In the modern, open world, when there are people that see and are willing to comprehend what's going on here - this is an important message," added Sugarman."