Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem during the 1967 War. As of 2010, the Palestinian population of the West Bank was approximately 2.4 million, and Gaza's population totaled 1.6 million. High population density, limited land access, and strict internal and external security controls have kept economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas under the Palestinian Authority (PA)- even more degraded than in the West Bank. Hamas, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, violently assumed control over Gaza in June 2007, making worse the already dangerous security situation there. 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; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip in August 2005.
Covering a land area of 360 sq. km (approximately twice the size of Washington, DC) with a population of nearly 1.4 million, the Gaza Strip is a narrow sliver of land in the westernmost portion of the Palestinian territories in Southwest Asia and borders Egypt, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea. This region has a temperate climate with mild winters and dry, warm to hot summers. The terrain consists of flat to rolling, sand-and-dune covered coastal plains. The Gaza Strip's borders were originally defined by the armistice lines between Egypt and Israel after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Gaza Strip was occupied by Egyptian forces until the region was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Gaza is famous for its moderate weather in the summer and winter, which encourages the people, to go to the beaches, parks and gardens. People also spend their leisure time on farms, orchards, and at touristic facilities. The most beautiful sights in Gaza are the sea, the beaches, the coast, the sky, the golden bright sand, the sun and warmth, and the soft breeze.
Situated at the climate division line and the latitude 31.3 degree north to the Equator. Gaza has occupied a dividing position between the desert in the south and the Mediterranean climate in the north. This location, as such, had made the city acquire the role of a prosperous trading market for world products, both tropical, and cold. This importance was reinforced by its distinguished position on a hill, 45m above sea level and within a range of 3 Km. away from the sea.
Gaza's population is composed almost entirely of Muslim Palestinians, and also has a small Palestinian Christian community. A massive influx of Palestinian refugees swelled Gaza's population after the 1948 Arab Israeli war. By 1967 the population had grown to about six times its 1948 size.
Gaza is the economic center for a region in which citrus fruits and other crops are grown. Many Gazans work in Israel service and industry when the border is open. The city contains some small industry, including textiles and food processing. A variety of wares are sold in Gaza's street bazaars, including carpets, pottery, wicker furniture, and cotton clothing; commercial development in the city is minimal. Gaza serves as a transportation hub for the Gaza Strip, and contains a small port that serves a local fishing fleet.
Places of interest to the visitor are the Great Omari Mosque, the Mosque of Al Ssayed Hashem, the Mosque of Ibn Othman, the Mosque of Ibn Marwan, The Sheikh Abul Azm sanctuary, the Sheikh Ajlin sanctuary, Tell al Mintar, Napoleon's fort (Al Radwan Castle), and the Church of St. Porphyrius. The city also has many new resorts where tourists and local people can swim and relax by the beach or swimming pools.
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