New York Times journalists take a look inside a devastated Gaza. | ET REALITY

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For a few brief moments, the two-story house on the outskirts of Bureij, a ruined city in central Gaza, still looked like a Palestinian home.

On a shelf were bottles of nail polish, perfume, and hair gel, untouched. A collection of refrigerator magnets decorated the frame of a mirror. Through a window you could see clothes hanging on a neighbor’s clothesline, swaying in the gentle breeze.

But despite the characteristics of the home, the house now has a new function: that of an improvised Israeli military barracks.

Since Israeli ground forces recently forced their way into this part of central Gaza, a unit of the military’s 188th Brigade has taken over the building, using it as a dormitory, warehouse and observation deck.

On Monday, some soldiers were waiting for orders in the ground-floor living room or standing guard on the terrace above. One bedroom was filled with soldiers’ backpacks and equipment.

The walls of the house were stained with Hebrew graffiti. “The people of Israel,” read one message, written in black spray paint.

The people of Gaza were nowhere to be seen.

The house was emblematic of the ruined wasteland that two New York Times journalists witnessed on a three-hour trip with Israeli soldiers through Gaza on Monday morning.

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