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Gaza Strip, See : Flags, Maps

Gaza Strip (Middle East)

Introduction ::Gaza Strip


The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward. In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements. Nonetheless, Israel still controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip; and it enforces a restricted zone along the border inside Gaza. In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). HAMAS took control of the PA government in March 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating with HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. Violent clashes between Fatah and HAMAS supporters in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and early 2007 resulted in numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. In February 2007, ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL signed the Mecca Agreement in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip, and in June 2007, HAMAS militants succeeded in a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government in the West Bank led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG's dismissal, and despite multiple rounds of Egyptian-brokered reconciliation negotiations, the two groups have failed to bridge their differences. Late November 2007 through June 2008 witnessed a substantial increase in Israeli-Palestinian violence. An Egyptian-brokered truce in June 2008 between Israel and HAMAS brought about a five-month pause in hostilities, but spiraling end-of-year violence resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,100 to 1,400 Palestinians and left tens of thousands of people homeless. International donors pledged $4.5 billion in aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip, but by the end of 2010 large-scale reconstruction had not begun.

Geography ::Gaza Strip


Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and

Geographic coordinates:
31 25 N, 34 20 E

Map references:

Middle East


total: 360 sq km country comparison to the world: 205 land: 360 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

total: 62 km

border countries: Egypt 11 km, Israel 51 km


40 km

Maritime claims:

Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation


temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers


flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

highest point: Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Awdah) 105 m

Natural resources:

arable land, natural gas

Land use:

arable land: 29%

permanent crops: 21%

other: 50% (2002)

Irrigated land:

155 sq km; (note - includes West Bank) (2003)

Natural hazards:


Environment - current issues:

desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources

Geography - note:

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

People ::Gaza Strip


1,604,238 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 149

Age structure:

0-14 years: 44.4% (male 353,489/female 334,770)

15-64 years: 53% (male 420,618/female 402,297)

65 years and over: 2.6% (male 16,483/female 24,202) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 17.5 years

male: 17.4 years

female: 17.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

3.29% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 6

Birth rate:

36.26 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 28

Death rate:

3.36 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 217

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 85


urban population: 72% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 3.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 17.71 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 107 male: 18.87 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.68 years country comparison to the world: 111 male: 72.05 years

female: 75.4 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.9 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 27

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: NA

adjective: NA

Ethnic groups:

Palestinian Arab


Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 99.3%, Christian 0.7%


Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.4%

male: 96.7%

female: 88% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2006)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Gaza Strip

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Gaza Strip

local long form: none

local short form: Qita' Ghazzah

Economy ::Gaza Strip

Economy - overview:

High population density, limited land and sea access, continuing isolation, and strict internal and external security controls have degraded economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas in the Palestinian Territories. Israeli-imposed crossings closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS violently took over the territory in June 2007, and fighting between HAMAS and Israel during December 2008-January 2009, resulted in the near collapse of most of the private sector, extremely high unemployment, and high poverty rates. Shortages of goods are met through large-scale humanitarian assistance - led by UNRWA - and the HAMAS-regulated black market tunnel trade that flourishes under the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt. However, chnages to the blockade in 2010 included moving from a white list - in which only approved items were allowed into Gaza through the crossings - to a black list, where all but non-approved items were allowed into Gaza through the crossings. Israeli authorities have recently signaled that exports from the territory might be possible in the future, but currently regular exports from Gaza are not permitted.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

see entry for West Bank

GDP - real growth rate:

see entry for West Bank

GDP - per capita (PPP):

see entry for West Bank

GDP - composition by sector:

see entry for West Bank

Labor force:

339,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 160

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 12%

industry: 5%

services: 83% (June 2008)

Unemployment rate:

40% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 186 40% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

70% (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

9.9% (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 199 11.5% (2008)

note: includes West Bank

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

see entry for West Bank

Stock of domestic credit:

note: see entry for West Bank

Agriculture - products:

olives, fruit, vegetables, flowers; beef, dairy products


textiles, food processing

Industrial production growth rate:

see entry for West Bank

Electricity - production:

65,000 kWh (2009) country comparison to the world: 212

Electricity - consumption:

202,000 kWh (2009) country comparison to the world: 213

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

120,000 kWh; note - from Israeli Electric Company (2009)

Oil - production:

See entry for West Bank

Oil - consumption:

See entry for West Bank

Oil - exports:

See entry for West Bank

Oil - imports:

See entry for West Bank

Oil - proved reserves:

NA bbl NA bbl

Exports - commodities:

strawberries, carnations


see entry for West Bank

Imports - commodities:

food, consumer goods

note: Israel permits limited imports through crossings with Gaza, but many "dual use" goods, such as construction materials, are smuggled through tunnels beneath Gaza's border with Egypt

Debt - external:

see entry for West Bank

Exchange rates:

new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar - 3.7461 (2010), 3.9326 (2009), 3.56 (2008), 4.14 (2007), 4.4565 (2006)

Communications ::Gaza Strip

Telephones - main lines in use:

360,400 (includes West Bank) (2010) country comparison to the world: 108

Telephones - mobile cellular:

2.405 million (includes West Bank) (2010) country comparison to the world: 124

Telephone system:

general assessment: Gaza continues to repair the damage to its telecommunications infrastructure caused by fighting in 2009

domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed line services; the Palestinian JAWWAL company provides cellular services

international: country code - 970 (2009)

Broadcast media:

1 television station and about 10 radio stations (2008)

Internet country code:

.ps; note - same as West Bank

Internet users:

1.379 million (includes West Bank) (2009) country comparison to the world: 87

Transportation ::Gaza Strip


1 (2010) country comparison to the world: 223

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1

over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)


1 (2010)


note: see entry for West Bank

Ports and terminals:


Military ::Gaza Strip

Military branches:

Palestinian Authority security forces have operated only in the West Bank, not in the Gaza Strip, since HAMAS seized power in June 2007; law and order and other security functions are performed by HAMAS security organizations (2008)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 372,843 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 324,203

females age 16-49: 308,835 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 18,931

female: 18,010 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

Transnational Issues ::Gaza Strip

Disputes - international:

West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip in August 2005

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 1.017 million (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2007)


Hellenica World