Gaza Strip

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The Gaza Strip (Arabic: قطاع غزةQiṭāʿ Ġazza/Qita' Ghazzah, Arabic pronunciation: [qitˤaːʕ ɣazza]) lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about 41 kilometers (25 mi) long, and between 6 and 12 kilometers (4–7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometers (139 sq mi). The territory takes its name from Gaza, its main city.

The population is about 1.6 million people, as of July 2010,[1] most of them descendants of refugees. One million of the population, as of March 2005, were considered refugees, although the vast majority of them were actually born in the Gaza Strip;[2] the older generation fled to Gaza in 1948 as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, from some parts of Mandate Palestine that became Israel. The population is predominantly Sunni Muslim. With a total fertility rate of 4.9 children born per woman, the Gaza strip has the 6th highest population growth rate in the world.[1]

The Gaza Strip acquired its current boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, which was confirmed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949.[3] Article V of the Agreement declared that the demarcation line was not to be an international border. The Gaza Strip continued to be occupied by Egypt. At first it administered the territory through the All-Palestine Government and then directly from 1959 until 1967, when Israel occupied it following the Six-Day War. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1993, the Palestinian Authority was set up as an interim administrative body to govern Palestinian population centres, with Israel maintaining control of Gaza Strip's airspace, all but one of its land borders and territorial waters, until a final agreement could be reached. As agreement remained elusive, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005.

The Gaza Strip is one of the territorial units forming the Palestinian territories.[4][5][6][7] Since July 2007, following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and the Battle of Gaza, Hamas has functioned as the effective government in the Gaza Strip.

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