|Fact Sheet: An Overview
of the Gaza Strip
Gaza strip was part of the British mandate of
Palestine before 1948 and was captured by Israel from Egypt in the
1967 war. Although the Gaza strip is under Israeli occupation, it
is not considered a part of Israel, either by the Israeli government
or by any other country. The Gaza strip is approximately 360 square
kilometers in area. It has an 11km land border with Egypt and a
51km land border with Israel. Its land borders and 40km coastline
are under Israeli control. Unlike the West Bank, the Gaza strip is
entirely surrounded on land by an
Israeli-controlled security fence.
Gaza strip, some 1.2 million Palestinians live
on approximately 60% of the land, making it one of the most
densely populated places on earth. Yet under the Oslo
accords, Israeli retains military control of 42% of the Gaza
strip, most of it reserved for 6,000 Israeli settlers (.5% of the entire population).
This 42% includes military bases,
bypass roads, a buffer zone along the border, and “yellow areas”
(areas populated by Palestinians but under Israeli military
Gazans are refugees expelled from what is now
Israel in the 1948 war, or their descendants.
Approximately 400,000 of these people live in UN-registered camps.
The Palestinian population in the Gaza strip is growing rapidly, at
over 4% per year; half of the population is under age 15.
settlements in the Gaza strip are all
illegal under international humanitarian law.
Built mainly on expropriated land, settlements disrupt the
territorial contiguity of Palestinian areas and are used to justify
the Israeli military presence. They are heavily fortified and
linked to Israel by roads that are off-limits to Palestinians.
Settlers in the Gaza strip have virtually no contact with the
Before the outbreak
of the al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, the Gazan economy was
valued at approximately $US 1 billion. The service sector is the
largest part the economy, followed by agriculture. According to the
United Nations, the Palestinian economy contracted by 50% during the
last quarter of 2000 due mostly to severe movement restrictions
imposed by Israel.
Approximately 24,000 Gazans who used to work in Israel are now
unable to reach their jobs due to Israeli border closures.
[last updated 18 March 2002]