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Five things to know about Gaza, a territory ravaged by wars and poverty

Mahmud Hams Agence France-Presse A plume of smoke rose above buildings in Gaza City on Saturday during an Israeli airstrike that hit the Palestine Tower building .

The Gaza Strip, the scene of a new war with Israel since Saturday, is a Palestinian enclave in the hands of the Islamist movement Hamas suffering from conflicts, poverty and blockades.

Cramped territory

Bordered to the north and east by Israeli territory, to the west by the Mediterranean and to the south by Egypt, the Gaza Strip is a cramped territory of 360 km2, 41 km long and 6 to 12 km wide. km. More than two million Palestinians are crowded there, or nearly 6,000 inhabitants per km², one of the highest population densities in the world.

More than 5,000 years of history

Thanks to the discovery in 1998 of the site of Tell es-Sakan, archaeologists can attest that a fortified Canaanite city was continuously occupied from -3,200 to -2,000 in the current Gaza Strip.

Subsequently, Gaza was successively under Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, Arab and Christian domination.

In the 20th century, Gaza came under Egyptian administration in 1948, shortly after the proclamation of the State of Israel . The territory was then occupied by Israel following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

On September 12, 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, which had been ruled since 2007 by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist movement considered terrorist by Israel.


In June 2006, Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the enclave after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, who was released in 2011. The Jewish state reinforced the blockade in June 2007 when the Hamas ousts President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority from Gaza by force.

Since May 2018, Egypt has most often left the Rafah border crossing open, the only opening to the world of Gazans that is not in the hands of Israel, after years of almost permanent closure.

< h2 class="h2-intertitre">Tried by poverty

Devoid of natural resources, the Gaza Strip suffers from a chronic shortage of water and fuel. Unemployment affects half the population, including three-quarters of young people. More than two thirds of the population depends on humanitarian aid. The same proportion lives below the poverty line.

Succession of wars for 15 years

At the end of 2008, Israel launched an air and then land offensive to put an end to rocket fire: 1,440 Palestinians and 13 Israelis die.

At the end of 2012, the Israeli army carried out the targeted assassination of Hamas military leader Ahmad Jaabari. Eight days of airstrikes followed, killing 174 Palestinians. Six Israelis also die.

In July 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop rocket fire and destroy tunnels dug from the enclave. The war leaves 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, the vast majority civilians, and 74 dead on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers.

In May 2021, a new war in Gaza left at least 232 dead in 11 days Palestinian side and 12 Israeli side.

Two years later, in May 2023, 35 Palestinians, including leaders of Islamic Jihad, were eliminated in five days of war.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116