"Today it's the sons of Hamas who are on the frontline. Victory or martyrdom, by God's will..."
cried Sheik Rayyan, from the Hamas leadership. Within hours he would be dead, struck down by an Israeli bomb. White phosphorous, illegal in use against civilians, was one of Israel's responses. "White phosphorous burns through its victims' bodies"
says the head of the Burn Unit at this overcrowded hospital. "Nowhere in the Gaza strip is safe for the civilian population"
. At the UN school, 35 sheltering refugees, mostly children, were killed. "Hamas, and its leaders, hidden underground, are completely responsible for the suffering of Gaza´s people"
, declares the Israeli Defence Forces spokesman. "This will not stop Hamas or change their principles"
cry the Palestinian people "we are the ones who are destroyed"
"We are suffering inside here for the survival of our people!"
Here, in a dark, narrow tunnel, with a long tube to breathe through, we find Amer. Bombed in these very tunnels in January, earning only 80 shekels a day, Amer continues with this life-threatening work. "We saw the missiles falling on us and we started running like crazy"
he remembers. This is one of the 2000 tunnels transporting food, medicine and weaponry into Gaza from Egypt. "These tunnels are oxygen for the Palestinian people"
Amer sighs. "They are keeping Palestine alive"
If Israel controls the skies then Hamas controls the ground. In the run up to Christmas 2008, Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel escalated. 'Israel has to find some solutions' an Israeli man insists, revealing the bombed shell of his former home. Yet the damage was more psychological than physical. Hamas admits to dealing with "hand-made explosive devices...not comparable to the arsenal at the disposal of the Zionist army"
"This is a genocide like in Jenin!"
a Palestinian woman cries "our houses are being destroyed. Our children in pieces, in pieces..."
In Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, Hamas militants can hardly be isolated from civilians. The UN representative for Gaza held a press conference as the bombs rained down, "We are all on notice that nowhere in Gaza is safe for the civilian population. People here, this morning, were completely terrorized, traumatized by what they experienced"
The UN has requested more than $11m compensation from Israel for damage to UN property in Gaza. Palestinian rights groups say more than 1,400 Palestinians died during the January conflict. Thirteen Israelis died.
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