"Nobody cares about the people who die here"

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Fighting raged on in Gaza Wednesday night. The death toll there has now reached 695, mostly civilians. Israel's air and ground assault is aimed at stopping thousands of rockets fired into Israel from the Palestinian homeland.

A family fled Wednesday morning with what they could carry, including the family fan. And they brought their bitterness with them.

"Everything is demolished back there," one man said. "Trees, houses."

"Nobody cares," a woman said, "about the people who die here."

They are refugees in their own land. The United Nations estimates that nearly 120,000 have run away from their homes on the front lines and poured into empty schools.

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Palestinians fleeing the fighting in Gaza have been seeking shelter in schools.
CBS News

There is food, water, but little dignity at one school with almost 600 people cramming into classrooms, 30 to 50 in each one.

As difficult as it is, almost 600 people sharing 12 bathrooms, people here say at least they feel safe - if safe is a word you can use in Gaza.

Yet there is a breaking point.

"We can't go on like this much longer," said Rewaa Pasal, speaking in Arabic. "This is a big disaster for us."

But there is no sign of a let-up from the Israelis, and Hamas sees no cease-fire unless the Israeli blockade of Gaza is lifted, said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zhuri.

How much longer can Hamas ask the people of Gaza to endure this war?

"The people in Gaza say to us, we must continue," the Hamas spokesman said. "We don't put the people under pressure. The people pressure us."

Water and food are in short supply, electricity down to three hours a day. Death stalks almost every street and constant explosions make sleep almost impossible. And yet, there is defiance.

  • Barry Petersen

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