Gaza Strip Introduction - 2023


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The Gaza Strip has been under the de facto governing authority of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) since 2007, and has faced years of conflict, poverty, and humanitarian crises. Inhabited since at least the 15th century B.C., the Gaza Strip area has been dominated by many different peoples and empires throughout its history; it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century. The Gaza Strip 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; Israel captured it in the Six-Day War in 1967. Under a series of agreements known as the Oslo Accords signed between 1993 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.

In 2000, a violent intifada or uprising began, and in 2001 negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled. Subsequent attempts to re-start negotiations have not resulted in progress toward determining final status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel in 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, HAMAS won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council election. Fatah, the dominant Palestinian political faction in the West Bank, and HAMAS failed to maintain a unity government, leading to violent clashes between their respective supporters and HAMAS’s violent seizure of all PA 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 enact them.

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israel Defense Forces periodically exchange projectiles and air strikes, respectively, threatening broader conflict. In May 2021, HAMAS launched rockets at Israel, sparking an 11-day conflict that also involved other Gaza-based militant groups. Egypt, Qatar, and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process have negotiated ceasefires to avert a broader conflict. Since 2018, HAMAS has also coordinated demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel security fence. Many of these protests have turned violent, resulting in several Israeli soldiers’ deaths and injuries as well as more than 200 Palestinian deaths and thousands of injuries, most of which occurred during weekly March of Return protests from 2018 to the end of 2019. 


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NOTE: The information regarding Gaza Strip on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Gaza Strip 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Gaza Strip 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.