The Gaza Strip, or simply Gaza, is a Palestinian region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border.
In 1994, Israel granted the right of self-governance to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority. Prior to this, Gaza had been subject to military occupation, most recently by Israel (1967–94) and by Egypt (1958–67), and earlier by Syria when Gaza had been part of the Ottoman Empire.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been de-facto governed by Hamas, a Palestinian group claiming to be the representatives of the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly "accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations". Gaza forms a part of the Palestinian territory defined in the Oslo Agreements and UNSC Resolution 1860.
Sunni Muslims make up the predominant part of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza has an annual population growth rate of 2.91% (2014 est.), the 13th highest in the world. There is a limited capability to construct new homes and facilities for this growth. The territory is 41 kilometers (25 mi) long, and from 6 to 12 kilometers (3.7 to 7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers (141 sq mi). As of 2014, the population of the Gaza Strip was about 1.82 million people.
The large Palestinian refugee population makes it among the most densely populated parts of the world.
The Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by 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.
At first the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. All-Palestine in the Gaza Strip was managed under the military authority of Egypt, functioning as puppet state, until it officially merged into the United Arab Republic and dissolved in 1959. From the time of the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor.
Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centers while Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings with the exception of the land border with Egypt. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip under their unilateral disengagement plan.
In July 2007, following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and the Hamas takeover in 2007, Hamas had functioned as the de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip, forming an alternative Hamas Government in Gaza.
In 2014, following reconciliation talks, Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian unity government within the State of Palestine. Rami Hamdallah became the coalition's Prime Minister and has planned for elections in Gaza and the West Bank. In July 2014, a set of lethal incidents between Hamas and Israel led to the Israeli military launching Operation Protective Edge.