There is no region more explosive than the Gaza Strip. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the conflict over this piece of land has been raging constantly. It is an unequal fight because Israel uses its advantage and has controlled and made the enclave dependent for years. Entire generations of Palestinians grew up in such an environment. That is why the voices of radicals from the terrorist Hamas found easy breeding ground here.
The area of the Gaza Strip is 365 square kilometers, which is slightly larger than the area of Krakow. Over two million people live in this area, half of them children. The population density there is one of the highest in the world. For centuries, these lands were under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and later Egypt.
After World War I, by decision of the League of Nations, in Gaza, among others, the British were in power under the British Mandate for Palestine. When Israel declared independence in 1948, neighboring Arab states did not recognize this decision and went to war. As a result of the truce, the Gaza Strip fell to Egypt and in the following years, crowds of Palestinian refugees arrived there from Israel. Despite the agreements in force, mutual attacks regularly occurred. In June 1967, during the Six-Day War, the Gaza Strip came under Israeli occupation. On the wave of a quick and decisive victory, the Israelis established 21 settlements in the zone. Tension and outbursts of violence never really subsided.
A turbulent history
It escalated rapidly during the first intifada, the uprising of the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation. On the continuing bloodshed, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that he would like the Gaza Strip to flow into the sea, but this is impossible, so another solution must be found.
In 1993, Rabin and Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, signed the famous Oslo Accords, which were supposed to guarantee peace and became the basis for the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Israel controlled Gaza for 38 years. In 2005, by decision of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Israelis withdrew their forces from the Strip and evacuated the settlers. A year later, the elections in Gaza were won by Hamas – a political and military terrorist organization that still holds power there today. It is from Gaza that Hamas is launching attacks today. The Gaza Strip has been under blockade by Israel since 2007. It is Tel Aviv that supplies food, electricity and water there. It is strategic control and dependency. Due to pollution and salinity, as much as 90 percent of groundwater there is unsuitable for drinking.
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Main photo source: Reuters