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Gaza (City)

GAZA (CITY)

Principal city of the Gaza Strip.

Gaza City is located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the rest of the Gaza Strip, it was inhabited by Philistines in ancient times and subsequently conquered by many peoples due to its strategic location As part of the British Mandate, it came under Egyptian administration after the 1948 ArabIsrael War. The city contains a small port that serves local fisherman. Gaza's population consists of 400,000 mostly Muslim Palestinians. After the 1948 war, Gaza experienced an influx of refugees (approximately 190,000) and was six times larger by 1967. Today, about half the city's population are refugees.

Since the 1967 ArabIsraeli War, Gaza has been occupied by Israel. At the beginning of the first Palestinian uprising (intifada) in 1987, Gaza became a center for political unrest. In May 1994 the city became the first provincial headquarters for the Palestinian National Authority, which administers Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Gaza is the economic center for citrus fruits and other crops and contains small industries, such as textiles. Gaza's economy has been weakened due to closures by the Israeli military, implemented in the wake of the first intifada, and its dependency on wage labor in Israel. As a result of the al-Aqsa intifada (which began in 2000), more than half of the city's population are unemployed and living below the poverty line.


Bibliography

"Gaza City." Palestine: Home of History. Available from <http://www.palestinehistory.com/gazacity.htm>.

Municipality of Gaza. Available from http://www .mogaza.org/gaza_city.htm.

Roy, Sara. The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development, 2d edition. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2001.

Mallika Good

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Gaza

Gaza, Ghazzah (both: gäz´ə), or Ghuzzeh (gŭz´ə), town (2003 est. pop. 380,000), principal city and administrative center of the Gaza Strip, SW Asia, on the Philistia plain between the Mediterranean Sea and W Israel. In ancient times, Gaza was an Egyptian garrison town (it is mentioned in the Tell el Amarna letters); later, it was one of the chief cities of the Philistines. There Samson brought down the temple on his captors and himself. Gaza was besieged for five months by Alexander the Great and during the wars of the Maccabees and in the Crusades. The town has long been of commercial importance, the meeting place of caravans between Egypt and Syria. The site of modern Gaza dates from the building programs of Herod the Great. Opinions differ on the site of ancient Gaza.

See J.-P. Filiu, Gaza: A History (2014).

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