With no fighting in the last 16 hours, there is some hope that the 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip can eventually return to some kind of normalcy. But for now their time is spent digging through the rubble of their former homes, searching for loved ones long unreachable because of persistent Israeli shelling.
After three weeks of intensive attacks, the odds of finding much in the way of survivors seems remote, and the death toll has reportedly past 1,300 now as 95 more bodies have been pulled from the rubble-filled streets of Jabalya and Beit Lahiya. The Israeli press is reporting that 20 of the dead are believed to have been “gunmen” but many women and children have also been found.
As the days go on, assuming the fighting doesn’t resume, the true toll of the Israeli offensive will eventually emerge. As for normalcy, that will likely have to wait as thousands of Israeli troops will remain in Gaza for an indeterminate period of time, and it remains unclear, despite international pressure, whether the lull in violence will actually mean Israel will allow more humanitarian aid through its border crossings.
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