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3 Feb, 2009 06:26

Aid workers risk life and limb in Gaza

Humanitarian workers and rights activists in Gaza are helping locals put their lives back together. Many aid workers were in the region during the fighting and came under fire along with residents.

One such Aid worker is 31-year old Eva Barnett from Canada.

“The way the war in Gaza was being portrayed in much of the media was not the real picture,” Barnett said, an activist with the International Solidarity movement. “It was a heartless attack on the people of Gaza, it was not about Hamas.”

Barnett came to Gaza both to help the Palestinian people and to tell the world about her experiences there.

Barnett met one Palestinian farmer to find out more about how his helper was killed.

“You come to this area; it’s 700 metres from the border and people who worked on their land were shot at,” she said. “When we come here we realized we may be shot at.”

In the evening, Barnett writes her blog and contributes to several websites. She relates what she learnt and experienced during the day.

The world began to appreciate the risks activists face in Gaza five years ago when American Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer.

Corrie turned herself into a human shield to stop the Israeli army demolishing a Palestinian house.

Israel says her death was an accident, something Human Rights Watch disputes.

“People are being killed around us. Medics are being killed working on the same shifts as us, working from the same hospitals as us,” said Ewa Jasiewic, another activist from the International Solidarity movement. “And it can't put you off.”

Ewa has been in Gaza for five weeks. She helps to co-ordinate ships bringing humanitarian aid from Cyprus.

For both women, being in Gaza during the war and reporting for RT was something they felt they had to do.

Still, it seems likely that the ink on the reports documenting this round of fighting will hardly be dry before the next round of fighting breaks out.