Updated May 9, 2012
The Gaza Strip is a small coastal Mediterranean area of land spanning 139 square miles, slightly smaller than Seattle and less than half the size of New York City. Gaza shares a 7-mile long border with Egypt and a 32-mile long border with Israel. Throughout history, the region has been conquered and settled by various populations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Israelites, all of which enjoyed the area for its access to the sea among other reasons.
Currently, the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamasâ€”arguably the most organized, popular, and destructive Palestinian Islamist terrorist group today. In June 2007, Hamas violently wrested control of the Gaza Strip from its rival, Fatah; 161 Palestinians, including 41 civilians, were killed in the fighting. Following the takeover, Hamas imposed strict government rules against its people, which it enforces through violence, all the while continuing to launch attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
The mainstream media's reports on events in Gazaâ€”such as Operation Cast Lead, Flotilla voyages, or Hamas-Fatah unity agreementsâ€”are largely offered to viewers without context. GazaWatch seeks to provide that necessary context in order to help individuals gain a full understanding of events that take place in the Gaza Strip.
Source: CIA World Factbook