Gaza Strip

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Related to Gaza Strip: West Bank, Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis

Gaza Strip

(gäz`ə), (2007 pop. 1,416,543) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine, now officially administered by the Palestinian AuthorityPalestinian Authority
(PA) or Palestinian National Authority,
interim self-government body responsible for areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip under Palestinian control.
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. Since 2007 it has been under the de facto control of HamasHamas
[Arab., = zeal], Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that was founded in 1987 during the Intifada; it seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (the former
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, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization.

People and Economy

The Gaza Strip is a densely populated and impoverished region inhabited primarily by Sunni Muslim Palestinian refugees; the majority live in large, overcrowded refugee camps. Arabic, Hebrew, and English are spoken. The city of GazaGaza,
, or Ghuzzeh
, town (2003 est. pop. 380,000), principal city and administrative center of the Gaza Strip, SW Asia, on the Philistia plain between the Mediterranean Sea and W Israel.
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 is the principal city and administrative center. Other cities include Beit Lahia in the north and Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south. There were about 7,000 Israeli settlers living in 21 semimunicipal developments in the Gaza Strip until the settlements were evacuated in 2005. The number of inhabitants has fluctuated with tensions in the Middle East, increasing greatly due to the Arab-Israeli WarsArab-Israeli Wars,
conflicts in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1973–74, and 1982 between Israel and the Arab states. Tensions between Israel and the Arabs have been complicated and heightened by the political, strategic, and economic interests in the area of the great powers.
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The Gaza Strip has small construction and handicrafts industries, and some farming, including citrus fruits, olives, and livestock. However, Gaza depends on Israel for nearly 90% of its imports (largely food, consumer goods, and construction materials) and exports (mainly citrus fruit and other agricultural products), as well as employment. The economy, such as it is, has been devastated by fighting and, since 2007, the Israeli blockade, and by the mid-2010s the economic situation in the Gaza Strip had deteriorated significantly.


Between 1917 and 1948 the region was part of Great Britain's PalestinePalestine
, historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, at various times comprising parts of modern Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (recognized internationally by nations as independent Palestine), Jordan, and Egypt; also known as the Holy Land.
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 mandate from the League of Nations. After the armistice agreement of 1949 until the 1967 war (with the exception of the Israeli occupation from Nov., 1956, to Mar., 1957), the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian administration; the 1948 Arab-Israeli war led to an influx of Palestinian Arab refugees that tripled the region's population. However, the Palestinians were never given Egyptian citizenship, thereby remaining stateless. After the 1967 war, Israel occupied the region and established settlements there, but autonomy for the area was promised by the 1978 Camp David accordsCamp David accords,
popular name for the peace treaty forged in 1978 between Israel and Egypt at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. The official agreement was signed on Mar. 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C.
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With the inception of the Palestinian uprising (IntifadaIntifada
[Arab.,=uprising, shaking off], the Palestinian uprising during the late 1980s and early 90s in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that had been occupied by Israel since 1967. A vehicular accident that killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in Dec.
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) in Gaza in 1987, the city became a major center of political unrest and violence, and the Gaza Strip remained under frequent military curfew, imposed by Israeli troops sent to quell violence and maintain order. High unemployment and low wages have been chronic problems. As a result of the Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.

The First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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 (1991), masses of Palestinian workers in that region fled back to their families in the Gaza Strip, creating a dire economic crisis and greater unemployment.

In 1993 an accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation OrganizationPalestine Liberation Organization
(PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt.
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 (PLO) called for limited self-rule in the area. Under a May, 1994, agreement, Israel's occupying forces left much of the Gaza Strip and a Palestinian police force was deployed. Israel retained frontier areas and buffer zones around Israeli settlements. The breakdown in peace talks in 2000 and the subsequent resumption of violence hurt the local economy. Although the Gaza Strip saw less fighting with Israelis than the West Bank, in 2003 the Israeli army moved more aggressively to control sections of the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian attacks. The Israelis also launched attacks against leaders of HamasHamas
[Arab., = zeal], Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that was founded in 1987 during the Intifada; it seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (the former
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, which has many supporters in the territory and had carried out many suicide attacks. The Gaza Strip is also the main base for the Islamic Jihad, another militant Palestinian group. The area also was the scene of fighting between PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority forces and Hamas.

In Jan., 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced a plan for the withdrawal of all Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip, and it was subsequently adopted by his government. The settlements were evacuated in Aug., 2005, and Israeli forces withdrew the following month. The Strip threatened to descend into anarchic violence after the withdrawal, with the Palestinian Authority unable to exert effective control over the territory. The Gaza Strip also continued to be a source of attacks against Israel and suffer retaliatory Israeli attacks. These escalated into open warfare in June, 2006, after Hamas guerrillas captured an Israeli soldier and Israel invaded the Gaza Strip, and in the following months Israel continued to mount operations into the territory.

The situation in Gaza became economically dire as a result of continual conflict (some of it between Hamas and Al Fatah) and the restricted funding available to the Palestinian Authority. In June, 2007, the fighting between Palestinians ended with Al Fatah's defeat, placing the Gaza Strip under Hamas's control. The region nonetheless continued to be the scene of intra-Palestinian conflict, and Israel subsequently restricted the flow of goods into Gaza to humanitarian aid.

In response to ongoing rocket attacks from region, Israel tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip in Jan., 2008; the resulting shortages led Hamas to force open the Egyptian border, which had mainly been closed since 2005, for several days. In May, 2010, a Turkish aid convoy challenging the blockade was boarded in international waters in a deadly raid by Israeli forces. The raid, which was widely condemned internationally, focused global attention on the blockade; Egypt subsequently reopened its border crossing, and Israel eased its blockade on imports somewhat.

In June, 2008, a six-month cease-fire was established with Israel that included a partial reopening of the border. The cease-fire largely held until a significant outbreak of fighting in Nov., 2008, and was officially ended the next month. Late in Dec., 2008, Israel mounted an offensive against Hamas, with ground operations in Jan., 2009. Some 1,300 persons, about half of whom were civilians, died in the Gaza Strip before Israel and Hamas separately declared cease-fires in mid-January and Israeli forces withdrew; more than 20,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Both sides subsequently were accused of war crimes by international human-rights organizations and a UN fact-finding mission. In 2011 the head of the latter said he no longer believed Israel had targeted civilians as a matter of policy, but his coauthors defended their report.

Sporadic rocket and mortar attacks and Israeli air strikes, as well as minor cross-border incursions, continued. In Nov., 2012, Israeli air strikes, including one that killed the Hamas military chief, sparked the most intense cross-border attacks in four years. A new round of cross-border attacks began in July, 2014, after Israeli blamed Hamas for the murder of three teenage settlers in the West Bank and launched air strikes against the Gaza Strip, leading to a ground offensive by Israel; a cease-fire was established in August. Some 2,200 died in the fighting, the majority Palestinian civilians. In 2017 reductions in PA payments to Gaza and negotiations led to a preliminary deal between Hamas and Al Fatah to return the Gaza Strip to PA control. In 2018 Hamas mounted mass marches (March–May) against the Israeli border, with smaller protests in subsequent months; some 150 Gazans were killed and thousands wounded. Gaza militants and Israeli forces exchanged bombardments after the mass protests until a cease-fire was established at the end of May. A new outbreak of fighting occurred in July, and fighting has since recurred several times.

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Gaza Strip

small coastal desert on borders of Egypt and Israel, the control of which has been in continual dispute. [Middle East. Hist.: Payton, 264]
See: Discord
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Gaza Strip

a coastal region on the SE corner of the Mediterranean: administered by Egypt from 1949; occupied by Israel from 1967; granted autonomy in 1993 and administered by the Palestinian National Authority from 1994. Pop.: 1 406 423 (2004 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The mean number of children ever born for women ever married in Palestine in 2017 is 4.4 births; of which 4.3 births for the women living in the West Bank and 4.5 births for those living in Gaza Strip.
Thus, it called upon the Palestinian President to issue an immediate decision to end all the arbitrary measures against the PA employees in the Gaza Strip, abolish the decision of ceasing their salaries and find ways that contribute to achieving job security and protecting the employees and their families from the deteriorating economic and social conditions; and called upon the Palestinian Government to respect the Palestinian law, end all measures that lead to the deterioration of the humanitarian conditions and to fulfill its legal and administrative obligations towards the Gaza Strip.
This rate rose from 24% (15.7% in West Bank and 41.2% in Gaza Strip) among persons 15 years and above with disabilities in the labor force in 2007 to reach 37% (18.8% in West Bank and 53.7% in Gaza Strip) in 2017.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, vowed revenge for the attack and claimed to fire mortars and rockets from Gaza.
Israeli media speculated that infighting among Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip may have precipitated the launching without Hamas' permission.
The security situation has deteriorated over the past few days when six Palestinians were martyred and tens others wounded in a spate of Israeli air raids and artillery shelling which targeted Gaza Strip. The Palestinian resistance factions shelled Israeli targets nearby with tens of rockets and bombshells.
Palestinians have been killed and injured during two attacks in the northern Gaza Strip, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health of the Hamas government.
Hamas officials accused Egypt of "political extortion" due to the latter's insistence on supplying fuel to the Gaza Strip through Israel.
Unnamed Israeli political and media sources have said that the escalation of attacks between Israel and Hamas in addition to other militant Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip since last Wednesday, are the result of a common interest between the two sides to sabotage the initiative to end the Palestinian schism, the pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT reported on Monday.
Summary: Rabi Al-Awwal 17, 1432, Feb 20, 2011, SPA -- Israeli Occupation Authorities decided on Sunday to open partially Karam Abu Salem Crossing in the southern Gaza Strip to facilitate some requirements and needs of the residents of the strip.
The Israel Air Force struck a weapons manufacturing site in the northern Gaza Strip and two weapons-smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip overnight.