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Gaza Strip
[Country map of Gaza Strip]
Introduction Gaza Strip
Background:
The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes the Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of the interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities 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. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external and internal security and for public order of settlements and Israeli citizens. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and West Bank began in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, but were derailed by a second intifadah that broke out in September 2000. The resulting widespread violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's military response, and instability within the Palestinian Authority continued to undermine progress toward a permanent agreement. Following the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT in November 2004, the election of his successor Mahmud ABBAS in January 2005 brought about a turning point in the conflict. In February 2005 the Israeli Government voted to disengage from the Gaza Strip by dismantling all Israeli settlements and removing all Israeli settlers. This process was completed in September 2005. Nonetheless, Israel maintains offshore maritime control as well as airspace control. The future political status of the Gaza Strip has yet to be determined.
Geography Gaza Strip
Location:
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel
Geographic coordinates:
31 25 N, 34 20 E
Map references:
Middle East
Area:
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
Coastline:
40 km
Maritime claims:
Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation
Climate:
temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers
Terrain:
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: 28.95%
permanent crops: 21.05%
other: 50% (2001)
Irrigated land:
120 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
droughts
Environment - current issues:
desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
Geography - note:
there are 25 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Gaza Strip (February 2002 est.)
People Gaza Strip
Population:
1,376,289
note: in addition, there are more than 5,000 Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 48.5% (male 342,186/female 325,899)
15-64 years: 48.8% (male 342,927/female 329,354)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 15,036/female 20,887) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 15.65 years
male: 15.5 years
female: 15.81 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.77% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
40.03 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
3.87 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.79 years
male: 70.5 years
female: 73.15 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.91 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: NA
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups:
Palestinian Arab and other 99.4%, Jewish 0.6%
Religions:
Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 98.7%, Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.6%
Languages:
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Literacy:
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 controls have kept economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas under the Palestinian Authority - even more degraded than in the West Bank. An anticipated Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 may offer some medium-term opportunities for economic growth. 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 in response to security interests in Israel, disrupted labor and commodity relationships with the Gaza Strip. In 2001, and even more severely in 2003, Israeli military measures in Palestinian Authority areas resulted in the destruction of much capital plant, the disruption of administrative structure, and widespread business closures. Including the West Bank, the UN estimates that more than 100,000 Palestinians out of the 125,000 who used to work in Israel or in joint industrial zones have lost their jobs. International aid of $2 billion to Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 2004 prevented the complete collapse of the economy and allowed some reforms in the government's financial operations. Meanwhile unemployment has continued at half the labor force. ARAFAT's death in 2004 leaves open more political options that could affect the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$768 million (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $600 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 28%
services: 63% (includes West Bank) (2002 est.)
Labor force:
725,000 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 14%, industry 19%, services 66% (2004)
Unemployment rate:
50% (includes West Bank) (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:
81% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (includes West Bank) (2001 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $676.6 million
expenditures: $1.155 billion, including capital expenditures of NA; note - these budget data include West Bank (2003)
Agriculture - products:
olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products
Industries:
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
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Israel
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Israel (2001)
Exports:
$205 million f.o.b., includes West Bank (2002)
Exports - commodities:
citrus, flowers, textiles
Exports - partners:
Israel, Egypt, West Bank
Imports:
$1.9 billion c.i.f., includes West Bank (2002)
Imports - commodities:
food, consumer goods, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Israel, Egypt, West Bank
Debt - external:
$108 million (includes West Bank) (1997 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$2 billion (includes West Bank) (2004 est.)
Currency (code):
new Israeli shekel (ILS)
Currency code:
ILS
Exchange rates:
new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003), 4.7378 (2002), 4.2057 (2001), 4.0773 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Gaza Strip
Telephones - main lines in use:
95,729 (total for Gaza Strip and West Bank) (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
320,000 (cellular subscribers in both Gaza Strip and West Bank) (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: rudimentary telephone services provided by an open-wire system
international: NA
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
NA; note - most Palestinian households have radios (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (operated by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation) (1997)
Televisions:
NA; note - most Palestinian households have televisions (1997)
Internet country code:
.ps
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (1999)
Internet users:
60,000 (includes West Bank) (2001)
Transportation Gaza Strip
Highways:
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
note: small, poorly developed road network
Ports and harbors:
Gaza
Airports:
2 (2001)
note: includes Gaza International Airport (GIA), inaugurated on 24 November 1998 as part of agreements stipulated in the September 1995 Oslo II Accord and the 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum; GIA has been largely closed since October 2000 by Israeli orders and its runway was destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces in December 2001 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Heliports:
1 (2004 est.)
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)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
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 announced its intention to pull out settlers and withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 922,674 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2004)

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


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