Middle East :: GAZA STRIP
  • Introduction :: GAZA STRIP

  • 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 in 1967. Under a series of agreements known as the Oslo accords signed between 1994 and 1999, Israel transferred to the newly-created 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 in 2001, after which the area witnessed a violent intifada or uprising.
    Israel by late 2005 unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip, but it continues to control the Gaza Strip’s land and maritime borders and airspace. In early 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council election. Attempts to form a unity government between Fatah and HAMAS failed and violent clashes between their respective supporters ensued, culminating in HAMAS's violent seizure of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Since HAMAS’s takeover, Israel and Egypt have enforced tight restrictions on movement and access of goods and individuals into and out of the territory. Fatah and HAMAS have since reached a series of agreements aimed at restoring political unity between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank but have struggled to effect them; a reconciliation agreement signed in October 2017 remains unimplemented.
    In July 2014, HAMAS and other Gaza-based militant groups engaged in a 51-day conflict with Israel — the third conflict since HAMAS’s takeover in 2007 — culminating in late August with an open-ended truce that continues to hold despite the absence of a negotiated cease-fire and periodic attacks. The UN in 2015 published a study assessing that the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable by 2020 unless steps are taken to address Gaza’s economic and humanitarian situation.
  • Geography :: GAZA STRIP

  • Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel
    31 25 N, 34 20 E
    Middle East
    total: 360 sq km
    land: 360 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 207
    slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    total: 72 km
    border countries (2): Egypt 13 km, Israel 59 km
    40 km
    see entry for Israel
    note: effective 3 January 2009, the Gaza maritime area is closed to all maritime traffic and is under blockade imposed by Israeli Navy until further notice
    temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers
    flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Awdah) 105 m
    arable land, natural gas
    240 sq km; note - includes the West Bank (2012)
    population concentrated in major cities, particularly Gaza City in the north
    droughts
    desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
    strategic strip of land along Mideast-North African trade routes has experienced an incredibly turbulent history; the town of Gaza itself has been besieged countless times in its history; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip; the Gaza Strip settlements were evacuated in 2005 (2017)
  • People and Society :: GAZA STRIP

  • 1,795,183 (July 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    noun: NA
    adjective: NA
    Palestinian Arab
    Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
    Muslim 98.0 - 99.0% (predominantly Sunni), Christian <1.0%, other, unaffiliated, unspecified <1.0% (2012 est.)
    note: dismantlement of Israeli settlements was completed in September 2005; Gaza has had no Jewish population since then
    0-14 years: 44.78% (male 412,644/female 391,275)
    15-24 years: 21.25% (male 192,292/female 189,166)
    25-54 years: 28.02% (male 246,518/female 256,543)
    55-64 years: 3.4% (male 31,961/female 29,119)
    65 years and over: 2.54% (male 23,729/female 21,936) (2017 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 75.8
    youth dependency ratio: 70.5
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
    potential support ratio: 19.1
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    total: 17.2 years
    male: 16.8 years
    female: 17.5 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    2.33% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    31.4 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    3.1 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 222
    -5.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    population concentrated in major cities, particularly Gaza City in the north
    urban population: 76.2% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    45 deaths/100,000 live births
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    total: 16.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 17.6 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 15.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    total population: 74.2 years
    male: 72.5 years
    female: 75.9 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    4.13 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    57.2% (includes Gaza Strip and West Bank) (2014)
    2.2 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
    1.32 beds/1,000 population (2015)
    improved:
    urban: 50.7% of population
    rural: 81.5% of population
    total: 58.4% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 49.3% of population
    rural: 18.5% of population
    total: 41.6% of population
    note: includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 93% of population
    rural: 90.2% of population
    total: 92.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 7% of population
    rural: 9.8% of population
    total: 7.7% of population
    note: includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    1.4%
    note: estimate is for Gaza and the West Bank (2014)
    5.7% of GDP
    note: includes West Bank (2016)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.9%
    male: 98.6%
    female: 95.2%
    note: estimates are for Gaza and the West Bank (2016 est.)
    total: 13 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 14 years
    note: data represent Gaza and the West Bank (2015)
    total: 40.7%
    male: 36.4%
    female: 60.8%
    note: includes the West Bank (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
  • Government :: GAZA STRIP

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Gaza Strip
    local long form: none
    local short form: Qita' Ghazzah
    etymology: named for the largest city in the region, Gaza, whose settlement can be traced back to at least the 15th century B.C. (as "Ghazzat")
  • Economy :: GAZA STRIP

  • Movement and access restrictions, violent attacks, and the slow pace of post-conflict reconstruction continue to degrade economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, the smaller of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories. Israeli controls became more restrictive after HAMAS seized control of the territory in June 2007. Under Hamas control, Gaza has suffered from rising unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and a sharp contraction of the private sector, which had relied primarily on export markets.
    Since April 2017, the Palestinian Authority has reduced payments for electricity supplied to Gaza and cut salaries for its employees there, exacerbating poor economic conditions. Since 2014, Egypt’s crackdown on the Gaza Strip’s extensive tunnel-based smuggling network has exacerbated fuel, construction material, and consumer goods shortages in the territory. Donor support for reconstruction following the 51-day conflict in 2014 between Israel and HAMAS and other Gaza-based militant groups fell short of post-conflict needs; only 53% of pledged aid had been delivered as of December, 2017.
    see entry for the West Bank
    $2.938 billion (2014 est.)
    note: excludes the West Bank
    -15.2% (2014 est.)
    5.6% (2013)
    7% (2012)
    note: excludes the West Bank
    country comparison to the world: 224
    see entry for the the West Bank
    household consumption: 91.3%
    government consumption: 26.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 23%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 20%
    imports of goods and services: -61%
    note: data exclude the West Bank (2017 est.)
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 21.1%
    services: 62.5%
    note: data exclude the West Bank (2017 est.)
    olives, fruit, vegetables, flowers; beef, dairy products
    textiles, food processing, furniture
    4%
    note: see entry for the West Bank (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    1.24 million
    note: excludes the West Bank (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    agriculture: 5.2%
    industry: 10%
    services: 84.8%
    note: data exclude the West Bank (2015 est.)
    26.7% (2017 est.)
    26.9% (2016 est.)
    note: data exclude the West Bank
    country comparison to the world: 199
    30%
    note: data exclude the West Bank (2011 est.)
    see entry for the West Bank (2017 est.)
    calendar year
    0.8% (2017 est.)
    -0.2% (2016 est.)
    note: 2.9% excludes the West Bank
    country comparison to the world: 25
    see entry for the West Bank
    see entry for the West Bank
    $2.901 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.538 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    $2.041 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.712 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    -$1.444 billion (2017 est.)
    -$1.348 billion (2016 est.)
    note: excludes the West Bank
    country comparison to the world: 144
    $1.955 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.827 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    strawberries, carnations, vegetables, fish (small and irregular shipments, as permitted to transit the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing)
    see entry for the West Bank
    food, consumer goods, fuel
    $312.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $583 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    see entry for the West Bank
    see entry for the West Bank
  • Energy :: GAZA STRIP

  • population without electricity: 80,930
    electrification - total population: 98%
    electrification - urban areas: 99%
    electrification - rural areas: 93%
    note: data for Gaza Strip and West Bank combined (2012)
    51,000 kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    202,000 kWh (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    0 kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    193,000 kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
  • Communications :: GAZA STRIP

  • 432,000 (includes the West Bank) (July 2016 est.)
    total: 3,531,000 (includes the West Bank)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 76 (includes the West Bank) (July 2016 est.)
    general assessment: Israel has final say in allocating frequencies in the Gaza Strip and does not permit anything beyond a 2G network
    domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed-line services; the Palestinian JAWWAL company provides cellular services; a slow 2G network allows calls and limited data transmission
    international: country code - 970 (2018)
    1 TV station and about 10 radio stations; satellite TV accessible (2008)
    .ps; note - same as the West Bank
    total: 2.673 million (includes the West Bank)
    percent of population: 57.4% (includes the West Bank) (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
  • Transportation :: GAZA STRIP

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    total: 1
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    1 (2013)
    note: see entry for the West Bank
    major seaport(s): Gaza
  • Military and Security :: GAZA STRIP

  • HAMAS does not have a conventional military in the Gaza Strip but maintains security forces in addition to its military wing, the 'Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades; the military wing reports to the Hamas Political Bureau leadership based in the Gaza Strip (2018)
  • Terrorism :: GAZA STRIP

  • Army of Islam (AOI):
    aim(s): stage attacks against Israel and Egypt from the Gaza Strip and, ultimately, establish an Islamic emirate in the region
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Gaza; heaviest presence and operational activity is in the Gaza Strip
    note(s): operatives have a history of launching low-impact rockets into Israeli and Egyptian territory; the Army of Islam (Jaish al-Islam, JAI) in Syria is unrelated to AOI
    HAMAS:
    aim(s): maintain control of the Gaza Strip to facilitate Palestinian nationalist aims
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Gaza
    Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC):
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip against Israel and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Gaza, although present in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Israel
    Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ):
    aim(s): enhance its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip to launch attacks against Israel
    area(s) of operation: stages rocket attacks against civilians and military personnel primarily in southern Israel
    Palestine Liberation Front (PLF):
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip against Israel and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel in order to establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
    area(s) of operation: based in Gaza; maintains a recruitment and paramilitary training presence in most of the refugee camps across the Gaza Strip
    Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP):
    aim(s): destroy the state of Israel and, ultimately, establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Gaza, recruiting and training fighters; stages limited attacks against Israel
    PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC):
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities to prepare fighters for deployment to Syria and to launch occasional attacks inside Israel; ultimately, seeks to establish a Palestinian state
    area(s) of operation: headquartered in Gaza; as a longtime supporter of the Syrian Government, the group trains and deploys fighters to Syria to fight on behalf of President Bashar al-ASAD; stages occasional small-scale attacks inside Israel (April 2018)
    Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB):
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip against Israel to continue its attempts to disrupt Israel's economy and its efforts to establish security
    area(s) of operation: launches homemade rockets from the Gaza Strip into populated Israeli territory, primarily the cities of Nahariya and Ashkelon
    Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB):
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip against Israel and, ultimately, establish a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem
    area(s) of operation: stages attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli soldiers and civilians inside Israel, including launching rockets and missiles
    Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)-Sinai:
    aim(s): bolster its staging capabilities in the Gaza Strip against Israel and, ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate
    area(s) of operation: stages attacks against Egyptian forces along the Gaza Strip-Egypt border and launches rockets into southern Israel from the border closest to Israel
    note(s): formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (April 2018)
  • Transnational Issues :: GAZA STRIP

  • the status of the Gaza Strip is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from Gaza Strip in September 2005
    refugees (country of origin): 1,348,536 (Palestinian refugees) (2017)
    IDPs: 231,000 (includes persons displaced within the Gaza Strip due to the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since June 2014 and other Palestinian IDPs in the Gaza Strip and West Bank who fled as long ago as 1967, although confirmed cumulative data do not go back beyond 2006) (2017)