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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Gaza Strip
Map of Gaza Strip
Introduction Gaza Strip
The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP), signed in Washington in September 1993, provided for a transitional period of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. A transfer of authority to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and, in additional areas of the West Bank, pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum, and the 4 September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and the West Bank began in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, but were derailed by a second intifadah that broke out a year later. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date for a permanent status agreement has been postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides have not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward. In September 2005, Israel withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and four northern West Bank settlements. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. A November 2005 PA-Israeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt under joint PA and Egyptian control. In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community has refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it does not recognize Israel, will not renounce violence, and refuses to honor previous peace agreements between Israel and the PA. Since March 2006, President Abbas has had little success negotiating with HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift the economic siege on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene in late 2006 as a result of Israel's detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Israeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members.
Geography Gaza Strip
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel
Geographic coordinates:
31 25 N, 34 20 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 360 sq km
land: 360 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 62 km
border countries: Egypt 11 km, Israel 51 km
40 km
Maritime claims:
Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation
temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers
flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Auda) 105 m
Natural resources:
arable land, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 29%
permanent crops: 21%
other: 50% (2002)
Irrigated land:
150 sq km; note - includes West Bank (2003)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
Geography - note:
strategic strip of land along Mideast-North African trade routes has experienced an incredibly turbulent history; the town of Gaza itself has been besieged countless times in its history
People Gaza Strip
1,428,757 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 48.1% (male 351,642/female 335,060)
15-64 years: 49.4% (male 360,147/female 345,318)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 15,231/female 21,359) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 15.8 years
male: 15.7 years
female: 16 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.71% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
39.45 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
3.8 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.97 years
male: 70.67 years
female: 73.34 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.78 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: NA
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups:
Palestinian Arab and other 99.4%, Jewish 0.6%
Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 98.7%, Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.6%
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 96.3%
female: 87.4% (2003 est.)
Government Gaza Strip
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Gaza Strip
local long form: none
local short form: Qita Ghazzah
Economy Gaza Strip
Economy - overview:
High population density, limited land access, and strict internal and external security controls have kept economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas under the Palestinian Authority (PA)- even more degraded than in the West Bank. The beginning of the second intifadah in September 2000 sparked an economic downturn, largely the result of Israeli closure policies; these policies, which were imposed to address security concerns in Israel, disrupted labor and trade access to and from the Gaza Strip. In 2001, and even more severely in 2003, Israeli military measures in PA areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September 2005 offered some medium-term opportunities for economic growth, which have not yet been realized due to Israeli military activities in the Gaza Strip in 2006, continued crossings closures, and the international community's financial embargo of the PA after HAMAS took office in March 2006.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.327 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
GDP - real growth rate:
4.9% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 18.2%
services: 73.9% (includes West Bank) (2005 est.)
Labor force:
259,000 (2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 18%
services: 70% (2005)
Unemployment rate:
31% (includes West Bank) (January-September 2005 avg.)
Population below poverty line:
81% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.2% (includes West Bank) (2005)
revenues: $1.23 billion
expenditures: $1.64 billion; including capital expenditures of $44 million; note - these budget data include West Bank (2005)
Agriculture - products:
olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products
generally small family businesses that produce textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale modern industries in an industrial center, but operations ceased prior to Israel's evacuation of Gaza Strip settlements
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
140,000 kWh
Electricity - consumption:
230,000 kWh
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh
Electricity - imports:
90,000 kWh; note - from Israeli Electric Company (2005)
$313 million f.o.b.; note - includes West Bank (2004)
Exports - commodities:
citrus, flowers, textiles
Exports - partners:
Israel, Egypt, West Bank
$1.37 billion c.i.f.; note - includes West Bank (2004)
Imports - commodities:
food, consumer goods, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Israel, Egypt, West Bank (2004)
Debt - external:
NA (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$1.14 billion; note - includes West Bank (2004 est.)
Currency (code):
new Israeli shekel (ILS)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.4877 (2005), 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003), 4.7378 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Gaza Strip
Telephones - main lines in use:
349,000 (includes West Bank) (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.095 million (includes West Bank) (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed line services in the Gaza Strip; the Palestinian JAWAL company provides cellular services
international: country code - 970
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 8, shortwave 0 (2005)
NA; note - most Palestinian households have radios (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2005)
NA; note - most Palestinian households have televisions (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (1999)
Internet users:
243,000 (includes West Bank) (2005)
Transportation Gaza Strip
note: includes Gaza International Airport closed since its runway was destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces in December 2001 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
1 (2006)
note: see entry for West Bank
Ports and terminals:
Military Gaza Strip
Military branches:
in accordance with the peace agreement, the Palestinian Authority is not permitted conventional military forces; there are, however, public security forces (2002)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 260,855 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 221,530 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 15,196 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Gaza Strip
Disputes - international:
West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip in August 2005
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 986,034 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2005)

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007