It was called the Gaza Strip because of the largest city in it which is Gaza. The Gaza Strip was an integral part of the British Mandate over Palestine until its abolition in May 1948. In the plan to partition Palestine, the Strip was among the promised lands of the Palestinian Arab state, but this plan was never implemented, and lost its validity following the repercussions of the 1948 war. Between 1948 and 1956 The sector was subject to Egyptian military rule, then the Israeli army occupied it for 5 months in an attack on Egypt that was part of the military operations related to the Suez Crisis. In March 1957 the Israeli army withdrew and Egypt renewed military rule over the Strip. In the 1967 war, the Israeli army occupied the Gaza Strip again along with the Sinai Peninsula. In 1982, Israel completed its withdrawal from the Sinai under the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, but the Strip remained under Israeli military rule, as Egypt preferred not to renew its authority over it.

The Palestinian National Authority entered some of its areas after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and in February 2005, the Israeli government voted to implement the plan of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and remove all Israeli settlements, settlers and military bases from the Strip, and the process was completed. On September 12, 2005, it announced the end of military rule in the Gaza Strip.

Geography

The Gaza Strip is located in the Middle East (at 31°25′N 34°20′ECoordinates: 31°25′N 34°20′E). The Gaza Strip, which acquired this name from Gaza City, the largest city in the Strip, is located in the southern region of the coast of historical Palestine on the Mediterranean Sea. The sector, in the form of a narrow strip, northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, constitutes approximately 1.33% of the area of historical Palestine extending from the river to the sea. The Gaza Strip borders Israel to the north and east, while Egypt borders it to the southwest. The sector extends over an area of 360 square kilometers, and its length is 41 km, and its width varies between 6 and 12 km.

There are about 44 Palestinian communities in the Gaza Strip, the most important of which are: Gaza, Rafah, Khan Younes, Bani Sohail, Jabalia, Dair Al Balah, biopsy, Abassan , lkabeera, New Abbas, Beit Lahia, and Beit Hanoun.

Borders

The Separation Barrier, a metal fence built by Israel, separates its lands from the Gaza Strip, is heavily guarded by Israeli forces and is frequently attacked by Palestinian militants. Fighters are usually spotted and killed before they reach the fence, which is protected by an open buffer zone 300 meters deep on the side of the Gaza Strip.

After the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, Israel wanted to maintain its control over the strip’s border with Egypt, known as the Philadelphi/Salah al-Din Road, to control traffic and prevent smuggling. However, international pressures forced Israel to abandon the plan and hand over responsibility for those borders to Egypt.

Palestinian forces are stationed, under the supervision of European Union officials, at the Rafah border crossing leading to Egypt. Under a US-brokered deal, Israel uses visible surveillance in Rafah, but it cannot prevent people from crossing.

Crossings

The Gaza Strip is surrounded by seven crossings, neither entering the Strip nor leaving it without passing through one of them. Six of them are under the control of Israel, and the only crossing outside the control of the occupation is the Rafah crossing. Each of the first six crossings has two names, one Arab and the other Israeli.

The seven Gaza crossings are Rafah, Al-Mentar (Karni), Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom), Beit Hanoun (Erez), Al-Awdah (Sofa), Al-Shuja’iya (Nahal Oz) and Al-Qarara (Kissoufim). The first is located on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and the other six are between Gaza and Israel.

The Rafah crossing is the only point of contact between the Strip and the outside world, which is not under direct Israeli control. The crossing is open for pedestrians, and goods are allowed to leave it, but not to enter it. Officially, goods can be entered from Egypt through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and from Israel through the Sufa and Karni crossings, which are under the control of the Israeli army. However, the Israeli army frequently closes goods crossings, citing security reasons. This has occasionally led to shortages in basic supplies, as well as hampering Gaza’s main exports of easily perishable goods such as fruits and flowers.

The main vehicular crossing into Israel from the Gaza Strip is Erez in its north, and it has been closed to Palestinians for long periods, preventing workers from working in Israel, although international personnel and urgent medical cases are allowed to cross.

In the late 1990s, the Palestinians were allowed to open an airport in the Gaza Strip, but it has been destroyed by Israeli attacks since the intifada in 2000.

Israel agreed in principle to open a port to Gaza and to allow a bus line linking to the West Bank in a US-brokered deal in November 2005, but the two steps have yet to see the light of day.

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