Gaza Strip  
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Gaza Strip]

Gaza Strip


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Current issues: The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements ("the DOP"), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provides for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Permanent status negotiations began on 5 May 1996, but have not resumed since the initial meeting. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes a Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement and the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external security and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Permanent status is to be determined through direct negotiations.


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Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel

Geographic coordinates: 31 25 N, 34 20 E

Map references: Middle East

total: 360 sq km
land: 360 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
total: 62 km
border countries: Egypt 11 km, Israel 51 km

Coastline: 40 km

Maritime claims: Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement—permanent status to be determined through further negotiation

Climate: temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers

Terrain: flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Auda) 105 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use:
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 39%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 26% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 120 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment—current issues: desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment

Environment—international agreements:
party to: none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: there are 24 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Gaza Strip (August 1997 est.)


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Population: 1,054,173 (July 1998 est.)
note: in addition, there are 6,000 Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip (August 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 52% (male 278,551; female 265,009)
15-64 years: 46% (male 241,420; female 238,857)
65 years and over: 2% (male 12,966; female 17,370) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 6.4% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 49.07 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 18.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 24.45 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.95 years
male: 71.56 years
female: 74.4 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 7.57 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: NA
adjective: NA

Ethnic groups: Palestinian Arab and other 99.4%, Jewish 0.6%

Religions: Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 98.7%, Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.6%

Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Literacy: NA


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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Gaza Strip
local long form: none
local short form: Qita Ghazzah

Data code: GZ


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Economy—overview: Economic progress in the Gaza Strip has been hampered by tight Israeli security restrictions. In 1991 roughly 40% of Gaza Strip workers were employed across the border by Israeli industrial, construction, and agricultural enterprises, with worker remittances supplementing GDP by roughly 50%. Gaza has depended upon Israel for nearly 90% of its external trade. The Persian Gulf crisis and its aftershocks have dealt blows to Gaza since August 1990. Worker remittances from the Gulf states have dropped, unemployment and popular unrest have increased, and living standards have fallen. The redeployment of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip in May 1994 has added to the set of adjustment problems. This series of disruptions has meant a sharp decline in employment in Israel since 1991 and a drop in GDP as a whole. An estimated 378,000 persons were in refugee camps in 1996.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$1 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: -6.9% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,100 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 25%
services: 42% (1995 est., includes West Bank)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 8.4% (1996 est.)

Labor force: NA
by occupation: services 66%, industry 21%, agriculture 13% (1996)
note: excluding Israeli settlers

Unemployment rate: 28% (1997 est.)

revenues: $684 million
expenditures: $779 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996)
note: includes West Bank

Industries: generally small family businesses that produce textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale modern industries in an industrial center

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: NA kW
note: electricity supplied by Israel

Electricity—production: NA kWh
note: electricity supplied by Israel

Electricity—consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture—products: olives, citrus, other fruits, vegetables; beef, dairy products

total value: $630 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) (includes West Bank)
commodities: citrus
partners: Israel, Egypt, West Bank

total value: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.) (includes West Bank)
commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials
partners: Israel, Egypt, West Bank

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1—3.5340 (December 1997), 3.4494 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994), 2.8301 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)


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Telephones: NA
note: 3.1% of Palestinian households have telephones

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: NA

Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: NA; note—95% of Palestinian households have radios (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 station operated by the Palestinian Authority

Televisions: NA; note—59% of Palestinian households have televisions (1992 est.)


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total: NA km; note—one line, abandoned and in disrepair, little trackage remains

total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
note: small, poorly developed road network

Ports and harbors: Gaza

Airports: 2 (1997 est.)
note: includes new international airport that was scheduled to open in June 1997, but has been delayed due to political and security disagreements between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: NA

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement—permanent status to be determined through further negotiation