Few months back we have been hearing a lot about Gaza and particularly related to the atrocities that are being committed by the Israeli Defense Force on unarmed civilians in the region. Many have been voicing out their concern and held numerous protests across the globe against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. But do you really know exactly what Gaza is like? Read on to know a bit more about this place that has been in the news for quite some time now.
1. Size of Gaza
Gaza is located on the Banks of the Mediterranean Sea and is only 45 km (25 miles) long and at most 10 km (6 miles) wide. It borders Egypt to it south-west and Israel to its north and east. It is separated from the other part of Palestine known as the West Bank with Israel in between.
1.5 Million People live in Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 14. A sizable population of adults remain unemployed around 35%.The population density is 20000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world. The annual growth rate of the population is 3.5%. It is projected that by the end of 2017 its population will be 2 Million.
75% of the population in Gaza are refugees who were forced out of their original homeland in modern day Israel during the 1948 and 1967 wars. Their decedents have permanently been barred from returning to their homeland. According to Humanitarian Aid groups average income in Gaza is less than $2 per day and nearly 80% of the Gazzans survive on food aid.
Egypt controlled Gaza until 1967, when Israel occupied it (along with the West Bank) in the Six Day War. From then onwards Israel governed the region till 2005. Following which it withdrew away from Gaza, but still controls Gaza’s air space and maritime access. Israel even control’s the entire region’s border crossings except the Rafa crossing which is controlled by Egypt. All flow of goods into and outside Gaza are still controlled by Israel that includes basic necessitates such as food, electricity, water, fuel and humanitarian aid.
4. Hamas was democratically elected
Pushed by the George W. Bush administration, the Palestinian Authority held popular elections across the West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinian legislature in 2006. Hamas won a slight majority and is governing the region ever since.
5. Fishing limits
Since Israel controls Gaza’s maritime the Palestinian fishermen are allowed to fish only within 3 nautical miles (5.5 Km) from the sea coast.
6. No go zone on the Israeli border
The Israeli Defense force maintains a 1 Km buffer zone or no go zone inside Gaza all along the entire Israeli-Gaza Border. The border also includes high-tech observation posts which have a biometric scanner and can track records of people that come near the buffer zone. There have been few reports of some Palestinians being killed once they are in the buffer zone.
7. Tunnels in Gaza are important
The tunnels in Gaza are excessively important as they serve as a lifeline for this tiny strip of desert land. These tunnels carry basic necessities and humanitarian aid into Gaza. Majority of the tunnels run into Egypt.