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macrohistory & world report

The Gaza Strip

Map of the Gaza Strip

Gaza Strip, with cities marked in gray.

World Factbook as of October 2014: "Israeli security controls imposed since the end of the second intifada have degraded economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, the smaller of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories. Israeli-imposed border closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS seized control of the territory in June 2007, have resulted in high unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and a sharp contraction of the private sector that had relied primarily on export markets. Gazans increasingly turned to tunnels that ran under the Egyptian border to bring in fuel, construction materials, and consumer goods. In July 2013, Egyptian authorities began a serious crackdown on the tunnels, causing shortages in Gaza. The population depends on government spending – by both the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS's de facto government - and humanitarian assistance. Changes to Israeli restrictions on imports in 2010 resulted in a rebound in some economic activity, but regular exports from Gaza still are not permitted. Standard-of-living measures remain below levels seen in the mid-1990s."

Unemployment
2009: 40%

Some people in the Gaza Strip have citrus or olive orchards. Some grow vegetables commercially, and there are beef and dairy products industries.

Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births)
2011: 17.12 deaths
2008: 21.23
2005: 22.93

Average life expectancy at birth
2011: 73.92
2008: 72.34
2007: 72.12

International aid has prevented the complete collapse of the strip's economy. The people of Gaza are dependent on charity to keep from starving to death. According to Wikipedia, "Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world." According to footnote #2 in the Wikipedia article, there are claims that this assistance has been less than half of the "annual bilateral funds of US$654 per person" that the US has been providing Israel.

People

Population
July 2013: 1,763,387

Birth and death rates per 1,000 population
2011: birth 35.3, death 3.29

Living in an urban area
2008: 72%

Density in 2005: 3,823 persons per square kilometer, more than 10 times that of Belgium and about 100 times the United States - but exceeded by Hong Kong and Macau.

Ethnicity
Palestinian Arab

Religion
The population is predominately Sunni Muslim. A little less than one in 100 is Christian (0.7 percent).

Geography

Between Egypt and Israel. 40 kilometers of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, and about 9 kilometers wide. Total area: 360 kilometers or 139 square miles.

Government

Israel still controls maritime, airspace and most access to the Gaza Strip; and it enforces a restricted zone along the border inside Gaza. Hamas has had control of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza since January 2006. Israel considers itself at war with Hamas, believing that Hamas is at war against it.

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.