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Where Is Gaza and What
Is It Known For?

Young man travels home in the West Bank,Gaza.

Gaza is a narrow strip of land on the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel. This Palestinian territory has internal autonomy, but Israel exerts full control over its border with Israel. All Israeli settlers were evacuated in 2005. Hostilities between the two parties continue to restrict its economic development.

The Gaza Strip 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 1.5 million people, as of July 2009, most of them refugees; they fled to Gaza as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, from those parts of Mandate Palestine that became Israel, and their descendants. The population is predominantly Sunni Muslims and speaks a Western Egyptian dialect of Arabic.

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. 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 centers, with Israel maintaining control of Gaza Strip's airspace, some 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. 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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