Location of Gaza Strip within the continent of Middle East
Map of Gaza Strip
Flag Description of Gaza Strip:The flag of El Salvador was officially adopted on May 17, 1912. The blue and white are the original colors used by the United Provinces of Central America after they gained their independence from Spain in 1823. The centered emblem is surrounded by the 5 flags of the those United Provinces.
Official name(s) Gaza Strip; Qiṭāʿ Ghazzah (Arabic); Reẓuʿat ʿAzza (Hebrew)
Population (2013 est.) 1,701,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 141
Total area (sq km) 365
Inhabited since at least the 15th century B.C., Gaza has been dominated by many different peoples and empires throughout its history; it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century. Gaza fell to British forces during World War I, becoming a part of the British Mandate of Palestine. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt administered the newly formed Gaza Strip; it was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War with Egypt in 1967, and later transferred to the Palestinian National Authority. Under a series of agreements signed between 1994 and 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas of the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled after the outbreak of an intifada in mid- 2000. In early 2003, the "Quartet" of the US, EU, UN, and Russia, presented a roadmap to a final peace settlement by 2005, calling for two states - Israel and a democratic Palestine. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004 and the subsequent election of Mahmud ABBAS (head of the Fatah political party) as the PA president, Israel and the PA agreed to move the peace process forward. Israel in late 2005 unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip, but continues to control maritime, airspace, and other access. In early 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won the Palestinian Legislative Council election and took control of the PA government. Attempts to form a unity government failed, and violent clashes between Fatah and HAMAS supporters ensued, culminating in HAMAS's violent seizure of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. Fatah and HAMAS in early 2011 agreed to reunify the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but the factions have struggled to implement details on governance and security. Brief periods of increased violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in 2007-08 and again in 2012, both led to Egyptian-brokered truces. The status quo remains with HAMAS in control of the Gaza Strip and the PA governing the West Bank.
Gaza Strip, Arabic Qiṭāʿ Ghazzah, Hebrew Reẓuʿat ʿAzza, territory occupying 140 square miles (363 square km) along the Mediterranean Sea just northeast of the Sinai Peninsula. The Gaza Strip is unusual in being a densely settled area not recognized as a de jure part of any extant country. The first accurate census, conducted in September 1967, showed a population smaller than had previously been estimated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) or by Egypt, with nearly half of the people living in refugee camps. Pop. (2006 est.) 1,444,000.
Gaza, Arabic Ghazzah, Hebrew ʿAzza, city and principal urban centre of the Gaza Strip, southwestern Palestine. Formerly the administrative headquarters for the Israeli military forces that occupied the Gaza Strip, the city came under Palestinian control in 2005.--->>>>>Read On.<<<<
Geography of Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip is situated on a relatively flat coastal plain. Temperatures average in the mid-50s F (about 13 °C) in the winter and in the upper 70s to low 80s F (mid- to upper 20s C) in summer. The area receives an average of about 12 inches (300 mm) of precipitation annually.
Living conditions in the Gaza Strip are typically poor for a number of reasons: the region’s dense and rapidly increasing population (the area’s growth rate is one of the highest in the world); inadequate water, sewage, and electrical services; high rates of unemployment; and, from September 2007, sanctions imposed by Israel on the region. Agriculture is the economic mainstay of the employed population, and nearly three-fourths of the land area is under cultivation. The chief crop, citrus fruit, is raised on irrigated lands and is exported to Europe and other markets under arrangement with Israel. Truck crops, wheat, and olives also are produced. Light industry and handicrafts are centred in Gaza, the chief city of the area. In politically stable times, as much as one-tenth of the Palestinian population travels daily to Israel (where they are not allowed to stay overnight) to work in menial jobs. Political tension and outbreaks of violence often led Israeli authorities to close the border for extended periods, putting many Palestinians out of work. As a result, a thriving smuggling industry emerged, based on a network of subterranean tunnels linking parts of the Gaza Strip with neighbouring Egypt. The tunnels provided Palestinians with access to goods such as food, fuel, medicine, electronics, and weapons.
Demography of Gaza Strip
- Population 1,816,379 (July 2014 est.)
- Age structure 0-14 years: 43.2% (male 402,848/female 381,155)
- 15-24 years: 20.6% (male 191,710/female 182,405)
- 25-54 years: 30.1% (male 280,551/female 266,756)
- 55-64 years: 3.5% (male 31,711/female 31,515)
- 65 years and over: 2.6% (male 19,617/female 28,111) (2014 est.)
- Dependency ratios total dependency ratio: 74.1 %
- youth dependency ratio: 68.8 %
- elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 %
- potential support ratio: 19
- note: data represents the Palestinian Territories (2014 est.)
- Median age
- total: 18.2 years
- male: 18 years
- female: 18.4 years (2014 est.)
- Population growth rate 2.91% (2014 est.)
- Birth rate 32.2 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- Death rate 3.09 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
- Urbanization urban population: 74.3% of total population (2011)
- rate of urbanization: 3.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
- Sex ratio at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
- 0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
- 15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
- 25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
- 55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
- 65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
- total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
- Mother's mean age at first birth 19
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2004 est.)
- Infant mortality rate
- total: 15.46 deaths/1,000 live births
- male: 16.51 deaths/1,000 live births
- female: 14.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
- Life expectancy at birth
- total population: 74.64 years
- male: 72.9 years
- female: 76.48 years (2014 est.)
- Total fertility rate 4.24 children born/woman (2014 est.)
- HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate NA
- HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS NA
- HIV/AIDS - deaths NA
- Drinking water source
- urban: 81.6% of population
- rural: 82.3% of population
- total: 81.8% of population
- urban: 18.4% of population
- rural: 17.7% of population
- total: 18.2% of population
note: includes Gaza and the West Bank (2012 est.)
- Sanitation facility access
- urban: 94.8% of population
- rural: 92.8% of population
- total: 94.3% of population
- urban: 5.2% of population
- rural: 7.2% of population
- total: 5.7% of population
note: includes Gaza and the West Bank (2012 est.)
- Nationality noun: NA
- adjective: NA
- Ethnic groups Palestinian Arab
- Religions Muslim 98.0 - 99.0% (predominantly Sunni), Christian <1.0%, other, unaffiliated, unspecified <1.0%
note: dismantlement of Israeli settlements was completed in September 2005; Gaza has had no Jewish population since then (2012 est.)
- Languages Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
- Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write
- total population: 95.3%
- male: 97.9%
- female: 92.6%
note: estimates are for the Palestinian Territories (2011 est.) Maternal mortality rate 64 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
History of Gaza Strip
After rule by the Ottoman Empire ended there in World War I (1914–18), the Gaza area became part of the League of Nations mandate of Palestine under British rule. Before this mandate ended, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in November 1947 accepted a plan for the Arab-Jewish partition of Palestine under which the town of Gaza and an area of surrounding territory were to be allotted to the Arabs. The British mandate ended on May 15, 1948, and on that same day the first Arab-Israeli war began. Egyptian forces soon entered the town of Gaza, which became the headquarters of the Egyptian expeditionary force in Palestine. As a result of heavy fighting in autumn 1948, the area around the town under Arab occupation was reduced to a strip of territory 25 miles (40 km) long and 4–5 miles (6–8 km) wide. This area became known as the Gaza Strip. Its boundaries were demarcated in the Egyptian-Israeli armistice agreement of February 24, 1949.
The Gaza Strip was under Egyptian military rule from 1949 to 1956 and again from 1957 to 1967. From the beginning, the area’s chief economic and social problem was the presence of large numbers of Palestinian Arab refugees living in extreme poverty in squalid camps. The Egyptian government did not consider the area part of Egypt and did not allow the refugees to become Egyptian citizens or to migrate to Egypt or to other Arab countries where they might be integrated into the population. Israel did not allow them to return to their former homes or to receive compensation for their loss of property. The refugees were maintained largely through the aid of the UNRWA. Many of the younger refugees became fedayeen (Arab guerrillas operating against Israel); their attacks on Israel were one of the causes precipitating the Sinai campaign during the Suez Crisis of 1956, when the strip was taken by Israel. The strip reverted to Egyptian control in 1957 following strong international pressures on Israel.
In the Six-Day War of June 1967, the Gaza Strip was again taken by Israel, which occupied the region for the next quarter century. In December 1987 rioting and violent street clashes between Gaza’s Palestinians and occupying Israeli troops marked the birth of an uprising that came to be known as the intifāḍah (Arabic: “shaking off”). In 1994 Israel began a phased transfer of governmental authority in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the terms of the Oslo Accords that were signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The fledgling Palestinian government, led by Yāsir ʿArafāt, struggled with such problems as a stagnant economy, divided popular support, stalled negotiations with Israel over further troop withdrawals and territoriality, and the threat of terrorism from militant Muslim groups such as Islamic Jihad and Ḥamās, which refused to compromise with Israel and were intent on derailing the peace process. Beginning in late 2000, a breakdown in negotiations between the PA and Israel was followed by a further, more extreme outbreak of violence, termed the second, or Aqṣā, intifāḍah. In an effort to end the fighting, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced in late 2003 a plan that centred on withdrawing Israeli soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip. In September 2005 Israel completed the pullout from the territory, and control of the Gaza Strip was transferred to the PA, although Israel continued to patrol its borders and airspace.
In the 2006 PA parliamentary elections, Fatah—which had dominated Palestinian politics since its founding in the 1950s—suffered a decisive loss to Ḥamās, reflecting years of dissatisfaction with Fatah’s governance, which was criticized as corrupt and inefficient. Ḥamās’s victory prompted sanctions by Israel, the United States, and the European Union, each of which had placed the organization on its official list of terrorist groups. The Gaza Strip was the site of escalating violence between the competing groups, and a short-lived coalition government was ended in June 2007 after Ḥamās took control of the Gaza Strip and a Fatah-led emergency cabinet took control of the West Bank. Despite calls by PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas for Ḥamās to relinquish its position in the Gaza Strip, the territory remained under Ḥamās’s control.
In autumn 2007 Israel declared the Gaza Strip under Ḥamās a hostile entity and approved a series of sanctions that included power cuts, heavily restricted imports, and border closures. In January 2008, facing sustained rocket assaults into its southern settlements, Israel broadened its sanctions, completely sealing its border with the Gaza Strip and temporarily preventing fuel imports. Later that month, after nearly a week of the intensified Israeli blockade, Ḥamās’s forces demolished portions of the barrier along the Gaza Strip–Egypt border (closed from Ḥamās’s mid-2007 takeover until 2011), opening gaps through which, according to some estimates, hundreds of thousands of Gazans passed into Egypt to purchase food, fuel, and goods unavailable under the blockade. Egyptian Pres. Ḥosnī Mubārak temporarily permitted the breach to alleviate civilian hardship in Gaza before efforts could begin to restore the border.
In June 2008, after months of negotiations, Israel and Ḥamās agreed to implement a truce scheduled to last six months; however, this was threatened shortly thereafter as each accused the other of violations, which escalated in the last months of the agreement. When the truce officially expired on December 19, Ḥamās announced that they did not intend to extend it. Broader hostilities erupted shortly thereafter as Israel, responding to sustained rocket fire, mounted a series of air strikes across the region—among the strongest in years—meant to target Ḥamās. After a week of air strikes, Israeli forces initiated a ground campaign into the Gaza Strip amid calls from the international community for a cease-fire. Following more than three weeks of hostilities—in which perhaps more than 1,000 were killed and tens of thousands left homeless—Israel and Ḥamās each declared a unilateral cease-fire.
In the years after the Israeli blockade on Gaza was instated, an organization known as the Free Gaza Movement made a number of maritime efforts to breach it. The first such mission—which consisted of a pair of vessels bearing medical supplies and some 45 activists—was permitted to reach Gaza in August 2008, and four missions in subsequent months were also successful. In May 2010 a flotilla bound for Gaza was the scene of a clash between activists and Israeli commandos in which 9 of the more than 600 activists involved were killed.
In May 2011, four months after a popular uprising in Egypt forced Mubārak to step down as president, Egypt’s interim government announced that it would permanently reopen the Rafaḥ border crossing, allowing Palestinians to pass between Egypt and Gaza. The border remained closed for trade. Under Mubārak, Egypt’s cooperation in enforcing the blockade had been deeply unpopular with the Egyptian public.
Beginning on November 14, 2012, Israel launched a series of air strikes in Gaza, in response to an increase in the number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory over the previous nine months. The head of the military wing of Ḥamās, Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, was killed in the initial strike. Ḥamās retaliated with increasing rocket attacks on Israel, and fighting continued until the two sides reached a cease-fire agreement on November 21.
Government and politics of Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip and its population is under the nominal jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority, a provisional government that also nominally governs parts of the West Bank. The authority also operates the Gaza Strip's Rafah border crossing into Egypt under European Union supervision. The crossing has been closed sporadically due to Israeli demands since June 2006, after a series of terrorist attacks by Palestinian militants were launched against Israel.
Prior to Israel's unilateral withdrawal, the United States considered the Gaza Strip to be Israeli-occupied territory. Following the withdrawal, no official government statement has been made on its present status. However, the CIA World Factbook, updated in March 2007, continued to define the Gaza Strip as "Israeli-occupied."
Israel, the United States, and the European Union have frozen all funds to the Palestinian government since Hamas's victory in the 2006 elections. They view the group as a terrorist organization and have pressured them to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
According to the Palestinian "Basic Law" which was signed by former president Yasser Arafat in 2002 after a long delay, the structure of the Palestinian Authority is based on the three separate branches of power—executive, legislative, and judiciary. The judiciary has yet to be properly formalized.
The president of the Palestinian Authority is directly elected by the people, and the holder of this position is considered to be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In an amendment to the Basic Law, approved in 2003, the president appoints a "prime minister" who is also chief of the national security services. The prime minister chooses a cabinet of ministers and runs the government, reporting directly to the president.
The Palestinian Legislative Council, an elected body increased to 132 representatives that acts as a parliament, must approve all cabinet positions proposed by the prime minister, and must also confirm the prime minister upon nomination by the president. Half the legislative council must be elected under a system of proportional representation and half by traditional constituencies.
The judiciary is nominally independent, and subject to the law, and was, in 2007. The Basic Law calls for the establishment of a Supreme Judicial Council, Islamic Sharia’ courts, and military courts.
Gaza-City, Gaza Strip
- Gaza, Gaza Strip, Palestine.
- Credit: OneArmedMan
- Credit: Hatem Omar/AP
Gaza, Arabic Ghazzah, Hebrew ʿAzza, city and principal urban centre of the Gaza Strip, southwestern Palestine. Formerly the administrative headquarters for the Israeli military forces that occupied the Gaza Strip, the city came under Palestinian control in 2005.
Records exist indicating continuous habitation at the site for more than three millennia, the earliest being a reference by Pharaoh Thutmose III (18th dynasty; 15th century bc). It is also mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna tablets, the diplomatic and administrative records of ancient Egypt. After 300 years of Egyptian occupation, the Peleset (Philistines), one of the Sea Peoples, settled the city and surrounding area. Gaza became an important centre of the Philistine Pentapolis (league of five cities). There the biblical hero Samson perished while toppling the temple of the god Dagon. Because of its strategic position on the Via Maris, the ancient coastal road linking Egypt with Palestine and the lands beyond, Gaza experienced little peace in antiquity; it fell, successively, to the Israelite king David and to the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians. Alexander the Great met stiff resistance there, and, after conquering it, he sold its inhabitants into slavery. Throughout its history it was a prosperous trade centre. In Hellenistic and Roman times the harbour, about 3 miles (5 km) from the city proper, was called Neapolis (Greek: “New City”).
In ad 635 the Arabs took Gaza, and it became a Muslim city. Gaza has long been an important centre of Islamic tradition and is the reputed site of the burial place of Hāshim ibn ʿAbd Manāf, great-grandfather of the Prophet Muḥammad, and the birthplace of al-Shāfiʿī (767–820), founder of the Shāfiʿite school of Muslim legal interpretation. The city declined during the Crusades and never regained its former importance. After the sultan Saladin (Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn) defeated the Crusaders occupying the region at the Battle of Ḥaṭṭīn (1187), Gaza reverted to Muslim control; it passed to the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. In World War I it was stoutly defended by the Turks and was not taken by British forces until November 1917.
After the war Gaza became part of mandated Palestine, and a small coastal port (fishing, lighterage) was operated on the coast. When the Palestine partition plan was promulgated by the United Nations (1947), Gaza was assigned to what was to be an Arab state. That state, however, was not set up, and Gaza was occupied in 1948 by Egyptians. At the time of the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian armistice (February 1949), Egypt held Gaza and its environs, a situation that resulted in the creation of the Gaza Strip. (See Arab-Israeli wars.) Egypt did not annex the city and territory but administered it through a military governor. Gaza and its surroundings have continued to be greatly overpopulated by Palestinian Arab refugees.
During the Sinai campaign of November 1956, Gaza and its environs were taken by Israeli troops, but international pressure soon forced Israel to withdraw. Reoccupied by Israel in the Six-Day War (June 1967), the city remained under Israeli military administration until 1994, when a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians got under way. In 2005 Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, handing over control of the region to the Palestinians.
Long a prosperous citrus centre, Gaza also has extensive truck farms within the city limits. Dark pottery, food products, and finished textiles are manufactured; the city has a long-standing textile industry. Sites of interest include at the harbour an early Byzantine mosaic floor (6th century ad), evidently of a synagogue, showing King David playing the harp and dressed as the Greek hero Orpheus. Pop. (2005 est.) 479,400.
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