Gaza for Beginners

The Gaza Strip is about twice the size of Washington D.C. and is the home to 1.7 million people

It's one of the most crowded area in the world. About 2/3 of the people in the strip are refugees (and their descendants) from other parts of Palestine/Israel.

The Israeli military controls its airspace, and coastline and virtually all of its trade

The Gaza border with Egypt only allows travel for Palestinians with a valid Israeli issued card.

The Israeli government declared Gaza an "enemy entity" in 2007

Gaza was completely occupied by Israel from 1967 to 2005 and Jewish only colonies were built on a large percentage of its land. Settlers and army bases were pulled out in 2005.

The Palestine Authority election of 2006 was won by Hamas candidates and allies.

In 2007 the U.S. encouraged the Fatah Palestinians to try to seize control of the Gaza Strip. Before the attempt Hamas seized control.

Terms of Palestinian Authority office holders have long since ended, but there has been no new elections.

Human Rights Watch reports that from September 2005 to May 2007 Palestinians in Gaza shot 2,700 missiles into Israel killing four. However, during that same time period Israeli troops shot 14,617 artillery shells into Gaza killing 59 Palestinians. Five times as many shells, 15 times as many deaths.

In 2008 Israel violated an Israel-Hamas truce and Gaza Palestinian fired rockets. Israel started "Operation Cast Lead" which killed over 300 children and a thousand other Palestinians.

After "Cast Lead" Israel did not restore trade. Hundreds of tunnels were built from Gaza to Egypt which brought in limited amounts of goods.

In 2010 a Turkish ship bringing humanitarian supplies to Gaza was attacked by Israel. Nine Turks and one American were killed. After world outrage Israel allowed most foods to be imported into Gaza.

About 10 percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under age 5 have had their growth stunted by malnutrition

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which cares for refugees but not other Palestinian Gazans, recently released a report warning that damage to the aquifer may soon become "irreversible," and that without quick remedial action, Gaza may cease to be a "livable place" by 2020.

Before the latest attack the great social critic Noam Chomsky visited Gaza and wrote this report.

From Mazin Qumsiyeh in Beit Sahour, 11/15/2012:

People are subjected to massive well-funded propaganda trying to sell a "product" that "Israel is defending itself" by massacring civilians in Gaza (again) and engaging in extrajudicial executions of resistance fighters. The truth is hard to hide as are the statistics: Over the last four days, 16 Palestinian civilians were killed including several children (while 3 Israelis were killed), and over 170 Palestinian civilians were injured (very few Israelis). Over 140 military excursions by the most sophisticated US supplied war planes and navy ships on 1.5 million people in a large open-air prison. Anyone can find the pictures on the internet of burned Palestinian babies, mutilated children, devastated neighborhoods, and destroyed power plants and infrastructure. The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas on earth thanks to the Israeli ethnic cleansing creating the largest post-WWII refugee population on earth. 2/3rd of the 1.6 million people in this arid strip are refugees. All Israeli human rights violations are done by US funded horrific weapons for which native Palestinians have no defense. Home-made native projectiles fair poorly as a response to the massacre by advanced technologies. Yet, the US administration still sides with apartheid colonial Israel against the native Palestinians and so are the governments of Britain and France that are trying to live-up to their colonial activities. Israeli authorities intensified their attacks tonight after home-made projectiles fired by resistance forces in Gaza landed in Rishon Le Zion (first colonial settlement here) and Tel Aviv (first time since the gulf war that sirens were heard in Israel's de facto capital). People of all backgrounds are speaking out against these Israeli initiated attacks. Here in Palestine, we had demonstrations including against the silly bickering that the factions go through. There are also demonstrations around the world demanding Israel end its aggression against this impoverished strip of land full of refugees. But we must do more than demonstrate and hold vigils.

Pictures from Gaza under attack:

Timeline of the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza

There are names to these murdered civilians:
"The Health Ministry in Gaza reported that among those killed on Wednesday evening are Ahmad Misharawi, 11 months old; Ranan Arafat, 7 years old; Issam Abu Izah, 23; and Mohamed Al Kasih, 19. "

Reports from AlJazeera

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