Gaza Strip

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gaza Strip
Basic data
Country State of Palestine
surface 360 km²
Residents 1,918,221 (July 2020 estimate)
density 5328 inhabitants per km²
ISO 3166-2 PS

Coordinates: 31 ° 26 '  N , 34 ° 23'  E

The Gaza Strip , more rarely the Gasa Strip ( Arabic قطاع غزّة, DMG Qitāʿ Ġazza , Hebrew רְצוּעַת עַזָּה Rətzūʿat ʿAsah ), is a coastal area on the eastern Mediterranean between Israel and Egypt with Gaza City as its center.

The Gaza Strip is part of the Palestinian Authority and is formally under the administration of the Palestinian Authority or the State of Palestine .

The name "Gaza Strip" and its geographical shape it got after the First Arab-Israeli War (1948/49), when Israel and the Kingdom of Egypt signed an armistice agreement.

Since 2007 the Gaza Strip has been controlled by Hamas , which Israel and numerous western-oriented states regard as a terrorist organization . Israel controls the external borders on the northern and eastern land side, the western sea side and, indirectly, the movement of people via video circuitry on the south side (in cooperation with Egypt and the European Union ). The Gaza Strip is also dependent on foreign aid and the autonomous authority for water, electricity and telecommunications.


Gaza sandy beach

The Gaza Strip, like the entire Mediterranean coast of Israel , consists mainly of sand and dunes. Only 14 percent of the area can be used for agriculture . Its length is 40 kilometers, the width between 6 km and 14 kilometers and the area 360 km². The Gaza Strip is therefore somewhat smaller than the German state of Bremen or the Austrian capital Vienna or somewhat larger than the independent states of Malta and Grenada . The highest point at 105 meters above sea level is the Abu Auda . The annual average rains between 150 mm and 450 mm, but the area has plenty of groundwater. There are significant reserves of natural gas off the coast of the Gaza Strip in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the south the strip borders on the Egyptian Sinai , in the north and east on Israel. The Mediterranean in the west is controlled by Israel. The land border is formed by a barrier in the form of a fence.

The following cities are located in the Gaza Strip: Gaza City , Chan Yunis , Dair al-Balah , Rafah , Bait Lahiya and Jabaliya . Until the evacuation of the Jewish settlements (see below) in August 2005, around 8,500 Israelis lived in 21 Jewish settlements within the Jewish enclaves of the Gaza Strip .


From ancient times to the founding of the State of Israel

Old postcard with residents of Gaza
In the souq of Gaza
View of Gaza City, 2007

In early antiquity, Gaza was an important trading center at the interface of Africa, Asia and Europe. The ancient trade route Via Maris ran through Palestine . The Philistines had the area in the 12th century BC. In the course of the so-called sea ​​peoples storm from Egypt and expanded it to the core of their settlement area. From the 8th century BC In short succession, the rule of various kingdoms from Egypt or Syria / Mesopotamia changed over the area ( Egypt , Assyrian Empire , New Babylonian Empire ). The Persian Empire ruled the area from the late 6th century BC. BC Alexander the Great conquered the fiercely opposed city in 332 BC. After three months of siege. Surviving men as well as women and children were sold into slavery. Alexander's successor dynasties, the Ptolemies (from Egypt) and the Seleucids (from Syria) ruled the area until the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC. The Romans rebuilt the city of Gaza and helped it to flourish again. The Arabs conquered the area after defeating the Byzantines on Yarmuk in 636.

After Frankish crusaders had temporarily conquered the area in the 11th century, it came under Egyptian- Mamluk rule in the 12th century . After the defeat by the Ottomans in 1517, the Egyptian Mameluke Empire came under Ottoman rule.

In the spring of 1917 the inhabitants of the city of Gaza were evacuated into the hinterland by the army command of the Ottoman troops, for example to Hebron , Jaffa and Jerusalem . Some of the evacuees were taken by rail to Homs and Aleppo in what is now Syria . Since March 1917 there was fierce fighting for Gaza City and the city was turned into a field of rubble by both artillery and air bombs until it was conquered by troops of the British Empire on November 7, 1917.

Since the Ottoman defeat in World War I , the area has been part of the British League of Nations mandate for Palestine . Most Jewish families were driven from the Gaza Strip in 1929 during anti-Jewish riots.


In the period from the establishment of the State of Israel to the Six Day War , the Gaza Strip was administered by Egypt , but not annexed. Unlike the Palestinians of the time of Jordan occupied the West Bank , the Gaza residents received no civil rights of Egypt and thus remained stateless. In 1956 the Gaza Strip was temporarily occupied by Israel during the Sinai campaign (Suez Crisis) (military governor was General Matti Peled , later professor of Arabic studies in Tel Aviv and a bitter opponent of the Jewish colonization of the occupied territories), but fell back to Egypt due to international pressure.

As a result, blue helmet troops were stationed in the Gaza Strip as part of the UNEF mission, which led to a lasting calming of the border conflicts between Israel and Egypt. In connection with the Egyptian mobilization in the run-up to the Six Day War, the UNEF soldiers were withdrawn on May 19, 1967 on the instructions of General Nasser . Immediately afterwards, exchanges of fire between Israeli border patrols and Arab fighters began, as well as intense attacks by the Palestinian Liberation Army from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians.


As part of the Six Day War in 1967, the Gaza Strip was occupied by Israel . While the simultaneously occupied Sinai Peninsula was gradually evacuated by the Israeli army until 1982 after the Camp David talks in 1978 and the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in 1979, the Gaza Strip remained occupied until 2005. The Israeli government approved the construction of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. 8,000 settlers lived on 40% of the Gaza Strip in the Gush Katif settlement block in the southern Gaza Strip. These settlements were inaccessible to the Arab residents of the Gaza Strip and cut them off from beaches and fields. For this purpose, a separate road system for settlers, separate from the Palestinian ones, was built. Via this the settlements could be reached fairly safely from Israel. In December 1987, the First Intifada began with protests in the Gaza Strip. Since the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (also known as the Cairo Agreement ) in 1994, the Gaza Strip has been largely under the self-government of the Palestinians ( Palestinian Autonomous Areas ). Since the proclamation of the Second Intifada , there has been repeated bloody fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians ; the Gaza Strip continued to be a stronghold for Hamas's Arab-Islamic fundamentalism . Mohammed Dahlan , who was head of security for Gaza in those years and who exercised his power in all areas in such a way that people already spoke of "Dahlanistan", worked against them . Even cases of corruption could not stop the US and Europe from promoting Dahlan.


After long internal political disputes, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pushed through the withdrawal of the Israelis from the Gaza Strip in 2005 - combined with the dismantling of all Israeli settlements. In the vote in the Knesset , 60 MPs voted for and 47 against the withdrawal. Sharon obtained this majority only on the basis of votes from the opposition (including the Labor Party ), as his party was divided on the question of withdrawal and therefore some MPs voted against him.

Despite violent social and political conflicts in the run-up, Israel finally initiated the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip on August 15, 2005 with an entry and residence ban for Israeli civilians. Settlers in the 21 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip were initially given 48 hours to leave the area. Then the forced evacuation of the area by the Israeli military began . Within a few days, the settlements in the Gaza Strip were evacuated; After the houses were demolished, the previous Israeli settlement areas were handed over to the Palestinians. On the morning of September 12, 2005, the last Israeli military convoy left the Gaza Strip through the Kissufim crossing . After 38 years, the Israelis' presence in the Gaza Strip ended, while the borders with the exception of Egypt remained under Israeli control. The Palestinians celebrated the withdrawal, sometimes frenetically, with shots of joy and car parades . However, there were also incidents. For example, in several earlier Israeli settlements, Palestinians set fire to the settlers' synagogues , which were the only buildings left undamaged. There followed violent internal Arab fighting between isolated Arab clans and between the Hamas and Fatah movements. The fight for the areas cleared by the Israelis was bloody, many hundreds of Arab civilians died. At the same time, the attacks on Israeli territory increased, and more rockets and attacks were registered. The development of the Arab infrastructure continued to lame.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the armed forces on December 25, 2005 to stop rocket attacks by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on Israeli cities. For this purpose, a 2.5 km wide exclusion zone should be set up in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinians were not allowed to enter it. On December 27, 2005, the Israeli army ordered the Palestinian residents of the "security zone" to leave it through leaflets and loudspeaker announcements.


In January 2006, Hamas won an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections for the Palestinian Territories with 76 out of 132 seats. However, due to subsequent international isolation, which in addition to stopping financial aid from the US and the EU to the autonomous authority, also included withholding Palestinian tax revenue by Israel, Hamas was forced to consent to a government of national unity with the warring Fatah in September 2006 . The tensions between the Islamist Hamas and the religiously more moderate Fatah , which was charged with corruption allegations , continued, however, and reached a new high point in June 2007. In the fight for Gaza, Hamas succeeded in driving Fatah out of the Gaza Strip. On June 17, 2007, President Mahmoud Abbas set up a new government under Salam Fayyad . He was supported by the USA , the EU , but also by the Arab League . Hamas rejected the new government. It claimed sole power for itself and has effectively ruled the Gaza Strip ever since. Hamas' policy towards the civilian population is characterized by arbitrariness and violence. Amnesty International has criticized arbitrary arrests, torture and shootings. In the international press, the Gaza Strip was therefore partly mocking with the slogan inscribed "Hamastan".

On September 19, 2007, the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip to be "hostile territory" in order to "increase the pressure on Hamas to stop the now almost daily rocket attacks from the Palestinian Territory". Therefore, among other things, the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip should be restricted. The aim of these measures is to weaken Hamas. The Secretary General of the United Nations then asked Israel to reconsider the decision. Israel has obligations to the civilian population and must not disregard human rights.


Ranges of missiles from Gaza and threatened cities in Israel

As a reaction to the rocket attacks on the Israeli city of Sderot with Qassam rockets by Hamas from the northern Gaza Strip, Israel first closed the border crossings to the Gaza Strip on January 18, 2008 and suspended fuel deliveries. After the only oil-fired power plant near Gaza City had to stop producing electricity on Sunday, January 20, 2008, there was initially a major power outage in the Gaza Strip. Israel and the Hamas government under Ismail Haniyya blamed each other for the blackout. Shortly afterwards, the Israeli government announced that it would open its borders and resume aid supplies to the Gaza Strip. Electricity deliveries, which account for 70% of the electricity demand, should also be resumed.

On January 23, 2008, fighters blew up a section of the border wall with Egypt that was several hundred meters long , causing many thousands of Palestinians to pour over the border into the Egyptian province of Shimal Sina . Voices were raised in Israel to restore responsibility for the care of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip - as was the case until 1967 - to Egypt. Egypt also took steps similar to Israel along the border with Gaza and began erecting a three-meter high barrier at the beginning of 2008, which - after Hamas had blown the border barriers - is intended to replace the previous barbed wire barriers on at least part of the border.

On June 19, 2008, a six-month ceasefire negotiated by Egypt came into effect. Hamas pledged to end its rocket attacks on Israeli territory; in return, Israel gradually eased its blockade of the Gaza Strip . This made it possible for the first time in a long time to supply the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip with unlimited food, building materials, fuel and consumer goods .

In July 2008, several bombings and suicide bombings hit the Gaza Strip. Hamas blamed the rival Palestinian group Fatah for this. Over 100 Fatah members were arrested in raids. The rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli settlements continued and Hamas did not stop. During the agreed ceasefire, a total of at least 239 rocket and 185 grenade attacks were counted, with 24 attacks on December 17th alone. Defense measures by the Israeli armed forces against missile shooters were described by Hamas as a violation of the agreed ceasefire and provocation.

For some years now there have been repeated bomb attacks by Islamist extremists in the Gaza Strip on the facilities of the Christian minority among the Palestinians; among other things, a library as well as shops and internet cafes destroyed.

On December 27, 2008, in response to continued rocket bombardment of Israel by Hamas, the Israeli army began Operation Cast Lead . This military operation was accompanied by bombing raids on buildings suspected of being members of Hamas. Hundreds of civilians were killed and several thousand injured in the air strikes, making hospitals overcrowded and making medical care difficult. The operation was provisionally ended by unilateral ceasefire declarations by Israel on January 17, 2009 for ten days and by Hamas on January 18, 2009 for seven days. Israel withdrew its last troops on January 21, 2009.

To secure the armistice and to prevent new arms smuggling from the sea, France relocated the frigate Germinal to the coastal region. At the same time, it called for the Rafah crossing to be opened quickly .

On January 27, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. local time, an explosive device was detonated by Palestinian militants near the Kissufim border crossing when an Israeli patrol vehicle passed. An Israeli sergeant was killed and three soldiers were injured, some seriously.

Shortly after this attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced tough reactions to the incident. In the afternoon, tanks and bulldozers moved east of Chan Junis into the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian farmer was killed in the process. The air force fired a rocket at a moving motorcycle, seriously injuring a Hamas member and his passenger. The Israeli Air Force flew several air strikes on around 1,500 tunnels on the border with Egypt.

On August 15, 2009, Abdel-Latif Mussa , the leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated splinter group Jund Ansar Allah , proclaimed an “Islamic Emirate” in Rafah. The group had previously accused Hamas of indulging in enforcing Sharia law. This was followed by a firefight lasting several hours between members of this group and units of the Qassam Brigades , in the course of which Mussa and 27 other people, including six police officers and two uninvolved civilians, were killed. A Hamas negotiator, Abu Jibril Shemali, was among the dead; he was blamed by Israel as one of the organizers of the capture and kidnapping of Gilad Shalit , which led to Operation Summer Rain .


On May 31, 2010, an incident occurred off the coast of Gaza . The Israeli military boarded six ships loaded with relief supplies for the Gaza Strip trying to break the blockade. At least nine people were reported to have been killed and over forty injured while boarding the Mavi Marmara .

Many states condemned the attack and at the same time criticized the three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, described the situation in Gaza as "untenable and unacceptable". UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for Israel to lift the blockade immediately.

Two and a half weeks after the “Ship-to-Gaza” incident, the Israeli security cabinet decided on June 20, 2010 to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Goods for civil use and materials for civil construction projects under international supervision should be able to be imported into the Gaza Strip without restrictions. These imports can only be made by land, and the Israeli government will continue to adhere to the sea blockade. Instead of the list of permitted products, there has since been a list of prohibited materials, mostly objects that can also be used as weapons.

In November 2010, aid organizations such as Amnesty International and medico international appealed to the international community to call for an immediate end to the Gaza blockade. They accused that the ban on exports from the Gaza Strip had not been lifted and that, above all, there was a lack of material for reconstruction. In addition, the population is severely restricted in their freedom of movement and, according to the UN, 80% depends on external aid deliveries.

Influenced by the revolution in Egypt , many Palestinians took to the streets in February 2011 and demonstrated against the current political situation. After the government in the West Bank announced elections for the end of 2011 and resigned, Ismail Haniyya and Mahmud Abbas signed a reconciliation agreement at the beginning of May , which the Egyptian leadership had drawn up a year and a half earlier on behalf of the Arab League . Both political groups plan to form a joint transitional government before the 2012 parliamentary elections. Palestinian political experts attributed this step to the Arab uprisings since the beginning of 2011. The Egyptian foreign ministry then announced that it would permanently open the border crossing at Rafah, thus ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Middle East experts are skeptical about the chances of a lasting reconciliation between the two parties. On March 10, 2012, at least 130 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and villages within 35 hours. The Iron Dome missile defense system was able to intercept up to 90 percent of the missiles fired by terrorists.

On November 11, 2012, attacks with mortar shells and rockets again reached targets in Israel over 100 projectiles within 24 hours. Around 450 rockets are said to have been fired from Gaza into Israeli territory during this period of several days, killing three people in southern Israel. In response, the Israeli Air Force attacked targets in the Gaza Strip from November 14, 2012 in Operation Cloud Pillar . Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari was also killed in the course of these attacks . Since 2001, around 11,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. A ceasefire was reached on November 22nd through mediation by Egypt and the United States.

Since 2014

The murder of three Israeli youths and the alleged revenge murder of a Palestinian boy triggered another escalation in July 2014. After suspects were arrested, rocket attacks on Israel intensified. In response, the launched Israeli military the operation Protective Edge , were attacked in the standing with the rocket fire related targets in Gaza from the air. A ground offensive was also launched later. According to Hamas, more than 1,400 Palestinians had been killed by August 1, 2014, including extremist leader Hafes Hamad. Since the start of the operation, Hamas and other militant organizations have fired well over 1,000 mortar shells and rockets across Israeli territory. For the first time, rockets from the Gaza Strip have also reached northern Israel. The Israeli army bombed over 1,300 targets in the Gaza Strip. An indefinite ceasefire entered into force on August 26th. This came about through Egyptian mediation after Israel had made concessions. According to the UN, 6,761 buildings were completely destroyed and more than 10,000 buildings were damaged. A donor conference was held in Cairo in mid-October for reconstruction. In total, commitments of $ 5.4 billion were made, of which 47.5% was earmarked for the restoration of housing and infrastructure. According to the press spokesman for the local Chamber of Commerce, none of this money had arrived in Gaza by April 2015. Reconstruction has started nonetheless, although it is hampered by the corruption of the Hamas government and the restrictive control of the cement imports by Israel, which are also used for the expansion of the tunnel system .

In August 2017, 7 out of 10 residents were dependent on humanitarian aid from abroad, and youth unemployment was around 60%.

On August 1, 2018, the solar system built by the EU was inaugurated. The electricity generated is to be used to operate a seawater desalination plant, which will supply a quarter of a million people with clean water from 2020. In July 2019, after three years of construction, another desalination plant was completed. The plant near Gaza City delivers around 10,000 cubic meters of clean drinking water every day, which can supply around 200,000 people. The cost was around $ 15 million. The money was made available by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

In 2019 alone, 1,295 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Of these, 478 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system .


Population of the Gaza Strip 2000–2020

The Gaza Strip had a population of around 1.961 million at the end of 2018, compared to around 1.8 million in 2017. There are great differences within the Gaza Strip. 1.2 million people live in refugee camps, which, according to the United Nations, are among the most densely populated in the world.

Two thirds to three quarters of the population are refugees, who lived mainly in Jaffa and the surrounding area before the Palestinian War (1947–1949) , and their descendants. Of these, around 492,000 live in the eight camps administered by UNRWA . This means that 22.42% of all Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA live in the Gaza Strip. The population density of these camps is among the highest in the world; 80,688 people live in the Al Chati ( Beach ) camp near the city of Gaza on an area of ​​0.7 square kilometers (for comparison: Kowloon (Hong Kong) 43,033 (2006); Mumbai 31,214; Paris 21,067 (2014); Gaza City 14,658 ; Tokyo 13,650; Geneva 12,701; New York 10,532; Munich 4,668; former Kowloon Walled City 1.3 million inhabitants per square kilometer).

The birth rate and population growth are among the highest in the world. Over half the population is under 15 years old, and the population is doubling every 15 to 20 years at the current rate.

The life expectancy is 74.16 years for men and 72.48 years for women 75.95 years. This means that life expectancy in the Gaza Strip is slightly higher than the global average, which is 73 years. The average age is 17.9 years (as of 2012).

Child mortality is 1.546% (global average 2014: 4.8%).

According to calculations by the FAO , 81% of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip as well as 59% of the 2.4 million inhabitants of the West Bank lived below the poverty line in 2006 . According to the FAO, 70% of the population in the Gaza Strip were unable to meet their daily needs for food without additional help and only had access to water for 2-3 hours a day. Since 1949, the Gaza Strip has been largely dependent on supplies from UNRWA . At the end of 2012, UNRWA was supplying around half of the population with food. A WHO health study from July 2009 concluded that underweight infants (1.2%) and children up to 16 years of age (1.4%) in the Gaza Strip is declining slightly and is at an acceptable level, while childhood overweight is between 10 and 16 years of age show a “high prevalence” with 15.9%. The study suspects a lack of exercise and an unbalanced diet as reasons. In 2012, Israel placed a per capita requirement of around 9.5 MJ / d (= 2,279 kcal / d ) on its food deliveries to the Gaza Strip . underlying. In addition, there is locally produced food and especially food that is smuggled in from Egypt through tunnels. Critics like the Free Gaza Movement accuse Israel of wanting to starve the Palestinian people. According to the FAO, the threshold value for hunger is around 7.5 MJ / d (= 1,800 kcal / d ). per person.

The majority of the population are Muslims. With the evacuation of around 8,500 Jewish settlers, the largest religious minority remained the Christians, whose number was 3000 in 2007 and had fallen to 1200 in 2016. The majority of them are Greek Orthodox , while a sixth is Catholic . The Christian minority is tolerated, but faces attempts at proselytizing up to and including forced conversions. In 2014 an explosive device detonated on the site of a church. Graffiti justified the attack as revenge for what was done to Muslims in Central Africa.


The Gaza Strip's industry consists of mostly small family businesses that produce textiles , soap , olive wood carvings and mother-of-pearl souvenirs . The Israelis have built up some modern small-scale industrial operations. Electricity is mainly supplied from Israel, which also controls the operation of the only local power station by cutting or suspending fuel supplies and repeatedly uses these supplies as leverage in attacks from Gaza. For other reasons, Gaza only had electricity for four hours a day from June 2017 after Israel cut electricity at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Fatah chief wanted to put pressure on Hamas, which ruled Gaza. From January 2018, Israel - again at the request of the Palestinian Authority - increased the supply of electricity again, so that electricity is available again for six to eight hours a day. The most important agricultural products are olives (yields from olives in 2008: approx. 123 million USD ), citrus fruits , vegetables , beef and dairy products . The main export items are citrus fruits and cut flowers (average yields $ 13 million per year), while main imports are food, consumer goods and building materials. The main trading partners of the Gaza Strip are Israel, Egypt and the West Bank .

Overview of the importance of economic sectors in the Palestinian Territories (shares in%)
Sectors Share of
GDP in 2007
Share of
GDP 2011
Share of
employees in 2007
Share of
employees in 2011
Processing industry 13.0 10.09 12.5 11.8
Agriculture, forestry,
5.6 5.9 16.1 11.9
construction industry 5.1 7.3 10.9 13.9
Commerce, hotels,
13.0 15.4 19.4 20.3
Transport, storage,
7.2 8.1 5.5 6.1
other services 56.1 52.4 35.6 36.0

The economic output of the Gaza Strip fell by about a third between 1992 and 1996. This decline was explained on the one hand by corruption and mismanagement by Yasser Arafat , on the other hand by Israeli border barriers, which interrupted the commuter and freight traffic between Israel and the Gaza Strip that had been built up until then. The most detrimental social consequence was the emergence of high unemployment.

In the years that followed, Israel made such extensive border closures less frequent and took precautions to reduce the impact of such closures and other security measures on imports of Palestinian goods and labor into Israel. These changes resulted in three years of economic recovery in the Gaza Strip.

The upswing ended with the outbreak of the second Intifada in autumn 2000. This led to the complete cordoning off of the border by the Israeli army and frequent traffic obstructions in the Palestinian self-government areas, which severely hindered trade and labor. Internal unrest and Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories led to the destruction of important factories and administrative structures, numerous business closings and a sudden drop in gross domestic product .

Another major factor was the decline in labor incomes as a result of the restricted number of residents who were allowed to enter Israel to work. Following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Israel again allowed a limited number of workers to commute to Israel. After Hamas won the parliamentary elections in 2006, Israel announced that it would reduce or end these permits. After Hamas forcibly seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 ( fight for Gaza ), the borders were completely closed.

Israeli settlers had built many greenhouses and experimented with new agricultural practices while they were in the Gaza Strip . The greenhouses provided jobs for hundreds of Palestinians. When the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, the World Bank bought the greenhouses and made them available to the people of the Gaza Strip to stimulate their economy. Although looting and vandalism have occurred in some locations, most of these greenhouses are now used by Palestinian farmers.

That caused by Israeli and Egyptian border closures economic pinch, the now virtually ligated payments via banks and government offices in Gaza because of the extensive international isolation of the Hamas regime, the conflict with the ruling in the West Bank Fatah and with attacks with Qassam rockets justified Israeli military actions have meanwhile largely brought economic life to a standstill. The Gaza Strip is dependent on aid deliveries from international humanitarian organizations and individual foreign states, the Land of Israel and on smuggling, which is mainly carried out via the Sinai Peninsula . Smuggling was severely affected by the destruction of smugglers' tunnels and gasoline lines from Egypt.

The economic situation has deteriorated significantly over the past few years. While there was growth of 9.8% in 2010 and 2011, growth fell to 6.6% in 2012 and 1.9% in 2013 (estimate). Growth of 3.6% is targeted for 2014. A high unemployment rate of 32% also favors economic growth.

Drinking water supply

In the Gaza Strip, only around ten percent of the population have access to clean drinking water (as of 2020). An aquifer that supplied the inhabitants with water for decades was overused and largely destroyed by seeping in salty seawater. In addition, fertilizers and unfiltered wastewater get into the groundwater and make it inedible. Israel provides drinking water, but cannot meet all of the needs. Drinking water is also obtained through seawater desalination plants.


The Gaza Strip has been under direct control of Israel since the Six Day War and indirect control since the withdrawal of the Israeli military and the closure of Israeli settlements in 2005. Israel, but also the neighboring country Egypt, repeatedly restricted the movement of people and goods in the past and at times brought it to a complete standstill, which repeatedly led to supply shortages and thus at least partially collapsed the local economy and labor market.

A study by the Rand Corporation sees a connection between the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a prerequisite for a viable Palestinian state, as it enables mobility and population exchange between these areas. Israel currently does not even allow Gaza residents to stay in the West Bank temporarily, e.g. B. for students from Gaza who want to study in Bir Zait . There are only exceptions for 16 groups of people, e.g. B. Athletes of the Palestinian national teams for joint training and competitions.


Railway in the Gaza Strip
Route length: approx. 50 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Top speed: 80 km / h
Route - straight ahead
Route from Haifa to Aleppo , to the Baghdad Railway
Train station, station
29 Ashdod ad Halom
Train station, station
40 Majdal ( Ashqelon )
Military Railway at-Tina – Coast of at-Tina
Chelez Railway from Qirjat Gat (freight only)
Connection to the Dorad power plant
Route to Beer Sheva
El Jiya
Beit Jirja
54 Dayr as-Sunayd ( Jad Mordechai )
Military railway et Tina coast to Hudsch
Green Line Israel / Gaza Strip
Beit Hanun
64 Gaza Station
Gaza city
El Bereig
El Moghazi
76 Dair al-Balah
88 Chan Yunis
100 Rafah Palestine
Route to Beer Sheva
Gaza Strip / Egypt border
101 Rafah's northern terminus until 1916
Gabr Amir
Sinai Railway to Cairo & Alexandria
Ticket from El Qantara to Tel Aviv (1941)

The standard gauge line (Israel-) Gaza City - Rafah was part of the Sinai Railway . It was built by the British Sinai Military Railway and operated by Palestine Railways until 1948 . From 1948 to 1967 the line (Cairo–) Rafah – Gaza City was operated by the Egyptian State Railways (ESR) and the northern part was dismantled. In 1967, the route was taken over by Israel Railways from Al-Arish , and the connection towards Ashkelon - Lod was rebuilt. In 1972 passenger trains ran back to Haifa .

A Palestinian railway administration has existed since 1996, but the 50-kilometer stretch in the Gaza Strip is not in operation.

Air traffic

The Yasser Arafat International Airport is located in the Dahaniye municipality and is the only commercial airport in the Palestinian Territories. The airport, which opened in 1998, was closed and destroyed in 2001 by Israeli forces following the Second Intifada on suspicion that weapons were being smuggled into the Gaza Strip by air.


There are four universities in the Gaza Strip ( al-Aqsa University , al-Azhar University of Gaza , Islamic University of Gaza , University of Palestine ), branches of the Al-Quds Open University and three technical colleges.

There is no co-education of boys and girls in state schools . In 2013 Hamas tried unsuccessfully to stop co-education in schools for the small Christian minority.


The Gaza Strip is divided into five governorates divided: North Gaza Governorate , Gaza Governorate , Governorate Deir al-Balah , Khan Yunis Governorate and Rafah Governorate .

In the second election in January 2006 the following results were obtained:

  • North Gaza: 5 seats on the Change and Reform (a) list
  • Gaza: 5 seats on the Change and Reform list , 3 seats on the Independent Palestine list (b)
  • Dair al-Balah: 2 seats on the Change and Reform list , 1 seat on the al-Fatah party
  • Chan Yunis: 3 seats on the Change and Reform list , 2 seats on the al-Fatah party
  • Rafah: 3 seats to the al-Fatah party
(a)Most of the Change and Reform list is provided by Hamas .
(b)The Independent Palestine list is headed by Mustafa Barghuti .


The Gaza Strip has three correctional facilities , one of which is a maximum security prison . According to a report by Der Spiegel on October 21, 2010, human rights violations and torture regularly occur in pre-trial detention.

Restricted zones and border crossings

The land borders with Egypt and Israel are secured with a security fence. Due to a 200 to 300 meter wide safety zone declared by Israel behind the fence, which cannot be entered, 62.6 km² of mostly agricultural area cannot be used.

Rafah border crossing

On November 15, 2005, an agreement was reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority , according to which a passage for people and goods should be created on the border between Gaza and Egypt in Rafah . The border clearance should be carried out by the Palestinian Authority under the supervision of a European monitoring group with remote monitoring by Israel.

From November 30, 2005 until Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip, around 70 Europeans were stationed at the Palestinian-Egyptian border crossing in Rafah under the direction of the Italian Pietro Pistolese . The task of the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah (EU BAM Rafah) was to help establish a Palestinian border guard, to "actively monitor" the border clearance carried out and to contribute to the institutional relations between the Palestinian, Egyptian and Israeli authorities regarding the border crossing .

After Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the border crossing was closed until further notice. Neither entry nor exit is possible. Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority have so far taken the position that the border clearance agreement of November 15, 2005 is still valid. Hamas, on the other hand, regards border clearance as the sole regulatory competence of the Hamas government in Gaza and the Egyptian government. After Egypt temporarily opened the border with the Gaza Strip, it was closed again after a mass onslaught of Palestinians. Egypt feared weapons smuggling and the infiltration of Hamas fighters who could carry out terrorist attacks domestically.

On the Egyptian side of the transition, the parts of Rafah there began to be completely demolished in 2015 for security reasons and to combat smuggling with subsidized gasoline, which is economically harmful to Egypt. In the first phase, a 500-meter-wide security strip was set up along the 13.5-kilometer-long border in order to destroy all smuggler tunnels there. 1165 families are affected, the 820 houses of which were largely demolished without compensation with one to two days' warning. In a second phase, this zone will be widened to 1000 meters with 1220 houses and over 2000 families. At the end of the four-step plan, the buffer zone will be around five kilometers wide and contain the entire Egyptian district, in which around 75,000 people currently live.

Air and sea access

In addition, Israel and its army continue to control all access to the Gaza Strip by air (existing Gaza airport partially destroyed by Israel and resumption of flight connections is not possible without Israel's consent) and by sea (construction of an ocean port or the establishment of corresponding ship connections is not possible without Israeli consent ).


In addition to the official border crossings, there is a ramified tunnel system within Gaza and in the border areas with Egypt and Israel.



  • Deutschlandfunk , radio feature from November 2012, Sebastian Meissner: The sky over Gaza - Palestinian dreams of flying
  • The comic Gaza author Joe Sacco in 2012 was awarded the prize for best international comic of the 15th International Comic Salon Erlangen
  • In 2011, the film The Pig of Gaza , which was celebrated by critics and audiences alike , was made, which deals with the still difficult situation in the Gaza Strip in a humorous way
  • The theater play The Gaza Monologues, composed in 2010 after the Gaza War , with texts by young people from the Gaza Strip, was staged simultaneously on 17 October 2010 in over 40 theaters on all continents on the initiative of the non-governmental organization Ashtar .


See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Gaza Strip  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Commons : Gaza Strip  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Gaza Strip  - On The News
Wikivoyage: Gaza Strip  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. a b CIA - The World Factbook - Gaza Strip. Retrieved March 30, 2019 .
  2. ↑ The dispute with Israel is about natural gas off Gaza. In: The world . September 9, 2011.
  3. Gaza: Israel's $ 4 billion gas grab. In: The Ecologist. July 18, 2014.
  4. Dotan Halevi: Gaza and its Inhabitants: Exile and Destruction. In: Zmanim. Issue 126, 2014. (in Hebrew)
  5. ^ Michael RT Dumper, Bruce E. Stanley: Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara (CA) 2007, ISBN 978-1-57607-919-5 , p. 155.
  6. Gaza Strip: Between Occupation, Withdrawal, and Independence. on: , November 29, 2004.
  7. R. Churchill: ... and won on the seventh day. The six day war. Eduard Kaiser Verlag, 1967.
  8. ^ Archeology of the Middle East roadmap III. ( Memento of July 27, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) In: Daily Times. July 27, 2004.
  9. Reuters : Hamas hails Gaza victory after seizing base Quote: […] that Hamas had taken charge after six days of bloodshed in which more than 100 gunmen and civilians have been killed. Reuters, June 14, 2007.
  10. Israel declares Gaza Strip to be "hostile territory". In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . September 19, 2007.
  11. UN: Israel must rethink Gaza decision. In: The Standard . September 19, 2007.
  12. Blackout in the Gaza Strip - Staging or Humanitarian Crisis? ( archive) , January 21, 2008.
  13. ^ Israel temporarily opens its borders ( memento from January 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) ,, January 21, 2008.
  14. ↑ Opening of the border between Egypt and Gaza - Rafah becomes a marketplace ( Memento from January 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) ,, January 2008.
  15. Israel wants to deport Gaza to Egypt ( Memento from January 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) ,, January 24, 2008.
  16. Egypt builds a wall on the border to the Gaza Strip ( archive) , March 6, 2008.
  17. Middle East: Truce between Israel and Hamas. ( Memento from June 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: Die Zeit . June 19, 2008.
  18. Hamas starts raid against Fatah members ( memento of January 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) ,, July 26, 2008.
  19. ^ "Israel and Hamas - Armistice Absurd" . In: n-tv . December 18, 2008.
  20. ^ Militants bomb Gaza YMCA library. In: BBC News . February 15, 2008.
  21. ^ Bombs hit Christian bookstore, two Internet cafes in Gaza City. ( Memento of September 21, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: Haaretz . April 15, 2007.
  22. E. Hausen, A. Dippel: "Israel decides on a unilateral ceasefire - Merkel, Sarkozy and Brown want to mediate" . In: , January 17, 2009.
  23. “Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip completed” . ( Memento of July 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: Thomson Reuters , January 21, 2009, viewed January 21, 2009.
  24. France sends frigates off the coast of Gaza . In: , January 23, 2009.
  25. Gaza Strip: Palestinian militants attack Israeli soldiers. In: Spiegel-online. January 27, 2009.
  26. Clemens Verenkotte :: Violence in the Gaza Strip: The ceasefire has broken. ( archive) January 28, 2009.
  27. Clemens Verenkotte:: Lifeline tunnel on the border with Egypt - Survival in the Gaza Strip depends on smuggling. In: DLF. Feb 13, 2010.
  28. Israel bombs tunnels on Gaza-Egypt border Brittle ceasefire in the Middle East . In: Wiener Zeitung. January 28, 2009.
  29. Felix Dane, Jörg Knocha: Palestinian Schisms. The domestic political situation in the autonomous areas after the cancellation of the local elections. In: KAS country report. July 6, 2010, (online)
  30. 28 dead in the fratricidal war of the Islamists. In: The world. August 16, 2009, accessed December 31, 2010 .
  31. Israel remains stubborn. In: Kölner Stadtanzeiger . June 2, 2010, accessed November 24, 2017 .
  32. Ships in the tunnel: Israel has sealed off the Gaza Strip for three years. The blockade was intended to weaken Hamas; it did the opposite. In: The time . 24/2010, June 10, 2010, p. 8 f.
  33. Israel wants to ease the Gaza blockade. In: Der Tagesspiegel . June 17, 2010.
  34. Amira Hass : Hummus Starts Trickling Past Israel's Blockade on Gaza . In: Ha-Aretz. September 9, 2011, accessed December 26, 2016.
  35. End of the Gaza blockade called for. Despite the easing of import regulations, the plight of the people in the Gaza Strip is still great. In: Deutsche Welle . November 30, 2010, accessed December 31, 2010 .
  36. The end of "four black years". ( Memento from May 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  37. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  38. 130 rockets fired at Israel in 35 hours . In:
  39. ^ Gaza groups pound Israel with over 100 rockets. ( Memento of April 5, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) jpost, accessed on November 15, 2012.
  40. Hamas targets Jerusalem . In:
  41. a b Israel bombs 100 targets in the Gaza Strip . In:
  42. ^ Barney Henderson: Hamas military chief killed in Gaza air strike . In: , November 14, 2012, accessed November 15, 2012.
  43. Kevin Connolly: Gaza-Israel conflict: What can Israel and Hamas gain? In: BBC. July 11, 2014, accessed July 13, 2014.
  44. Israel kills extremist leaders from the air . In: , July 9, 2014, accessed on July 12, 2014.
  45. a b Netanyahu announces expansion of attacks on Gaza . In: , July 15, 2014, accessed on July 16, 2014.
  46. ↑ The Middle East Conflict - Bloody Night in the Gaza Strip . In: , July 12, 2014, accessed on the same day
  47. Thousands are fleeing from new bombings . In: , July 13, 2014, accessed on July 16, 2014.
  48. Gaza conflict: Indefinite truce for Gaza came into force . In: Zeit Online. August 26, 2014.
  49. ^ Impact of the 2014 Conflict in the Gaza Strip. In: Gaza Damage Assessment 2014: UNOSAT Satellite Derived Geospatial Analysis. 2nd October 2014.
  50. USA and EU pledge billions in aid to Gaza . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. October 12, 2014.
  51. Ulrich Schmid: Reconstruction in Gaza - the will to assert in a landscape of ruins . In: NZZ. April 25, 2015.
  52. William Booth, Hazem Balousha: Trapped between Israel and Hamas, Gaza's wasted generation is going nowhere. In: Washington Post. August 6, 2017.
  53. Solar system for Gaza Strip completed In: , August 3, 2018, accessed on August 6, 2018.
  54. New desalination plant at the start. In: Israelnetz .de. July 24, 2019, accessed August 10, 2019 .
  55. ↑ The number of rocket attacks on Israel continues to rise. , January 7, 2020, accessed on January 12, 2020 .
  56. ^ Gaza Strip - Population - Historical Data Graphs per Year. Accessed December 27, 2020 (English).
  57. "More than 13m Palestinians in the world by end of 2018" from January 1, 2019
  58. ^ UNRWA, Where We Work . UN Aid for Palestine Refugees, accessed on May 30, 2016.
  59. a b UNRWA statistics for the Gaza Strip ( memento of January 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  60. Statistical information on the UNRWA website ( Memento from January 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  61. a b c The World Factbook: Gaza Strip
  62. WHO report: people live on average 73 years old . In:
  63. ^ West Bank and Gaza Strip. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  64. UN workers rebuild shattered food distribution center in Gaza amid the violence; distributions continue . In: UNRWA homepage. November 20, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  65. ^ Gaza Health Assessment. ( Memento of January 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) WHO of July 9, 2009.
  66. Israel uses 'calorie count' to limit Gaza food during blockade, critics claim . In: Guardian. 17th October 2012.
  67. Middle East conflict: EU hopes for easing the Gaza blockade (there info box The aid organization Free Gaza ) In: Spiegel-Online. June 14, 2010.
  68. The FAO provides the data - the World Hunger Index is based on the figures from the World Food Organization . In: New Germany. October 16, 2014.
  69. Ulrich Schmid: Christians in Gaza - Life in the Shadow of Hamas . In: NZZ . 4th January 2016.
  70. Israel wants to further reduce power supply in the Gaza Strip. In: Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  71. Israel halves oil deliveries to Gaza. In: Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  72. ^ Israel bombs Hamas targets in Gaza. In: Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  73. ^ Israel lets in fuel for Gaza power plant under renewed peace agreement. In: Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  74. Israel is again supplying more electricity to the Gaza Strip. In: Retrieved June 8, 2020 .
  75. ^ The Olive Harvest In The West Bank & Gaza Strip. (PDF; 226 kB) United Nations, October 2008, archived from the original on September 24, 2015 ; accessed on August 22, 2014 (English).
  76. Farming under siege: Working the land in Gaza. International Solidarity Movement, July 5, 2014, accessed on August 22, 2014 .
  77. a b c Economic Structure and Opportunities - Palestinian Territories. Germany Trade and Invest, March 20, 2014, accessed on August 22, 2014 .
  78. Norbert Jessen: Egypt's army recaptured the Sinai Peninsula. In: The world. July 13, 2013, accessed August 22, 2014 .
  79. With technology from Israel against water shortages in Gaza. , February 14, 2020, accessed on February 23, 2020 .
  80. New desalination plant at the start. , July 24, 2019, accessed on February 23, 2020 .
  81. ^ The ARC project , Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in Israel on November 25, 2011.
  82. Amira Hass : Israel allows Gaza athletes to cross into West Bank, but bars outstanding academics . In: Ha-Aretz. December 26, 2011 (English).
  83. Ulrich Schmid: Christians in Gaza - Life in the Shadow of Hamas. In: NZZ . 4th January 2016.
  84. 2006 election results ( Memento from July 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  85. Ulrike Putz: Gaza Strip: In the death prison of the collaborators. In: Spiegel-Online. October 21, 2010.
  86. ^ No-go zones near Gaza Strip . In: B'Tselem. (English).
  87. ^ Border with Egypt closed again. ( Memento from February 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In: , February 3, 2008.
  88. Gil Yaron: Egypt evacuates smuggling city to the Gaza Strip. In: The world . January 15, 2015.
  89. The feature . In: , Deutschlandfunk, November 20, 2012, accessed on December 1, 2012.
  90. Angela Gutzeit in conversation with Burkhard Müller-Ullrich: The comic parlor has clearly been politicized . From: Culture Today ., Deutschlandfunk, June 10, 2012, accessed on June 24, 2012.