Gaza Strip politics

The Gaza Strip Politics

The Gaza Strip is located on the Mediterranean Sea’s eastern coast. It is an entity that is self governing and borders Israel on the north and east and Egypt on the south-western side. The Hamas have governed the Gaza Strip from the year 2007, de-facto. Hamas is a faction from Palestine which claims to be the legitimate representative of the Palestinian People and the Palestinian National Authority. In Ramallah, the government of Palestine has claimed the Gaza Strip which has gained recognition as part of the Palestine State, from the year 2012. The Palestine people living in the Gaza Strip are Sunni Muslims predominantly.

Israel And Settlements Establishment In The Region

From the period 1917 to 1948 the Gaza Strip was a part of the Palestine mandate of Great Britain from the League of Nations. It was under the rule of the Egyptians from 1949 up to the war in 1967 after the Armistice Agreement. For a brief period, November 1956 to March 1957, it was occupied by the Israelis. Then in the year 1948 there was a war between the Arabs and the Israelis which led to the influx of Arab refugees into Palestine. Due to this the population in this region almost tripled. However Egyptian citizenship was never given to the Palestinians due to which they remained stateless. After the war in 1967, the region was occupied by Israel and settlements began coming up at the Gaza Strip. However the Camp David Accords of 1978 promised autonomy for the region.

Palestinian Uprising

1987 saw the inception of the Intifada or the Palestinian uprising. The Gaza Strip became a major centre for a lot of violence and unrest in the political arena. Military curfews were imposed frequently by the troops of Israel for the main purpose of maintaining peace and order and quelling out violence. The two main chronic issues faced by the region were low wages and very high rate of unemployment. In the year 1991, the Persian Gulf War took place. Workers from Palestine in very large numbers fled back to their families which were located in the Gaza Strip. This in turn led to the creation of unemployment on a larger scale and dire crisis in the economy.

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Palestine Police Force Deployed

An accord was called for between the PLO – the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to ensure that the self rule in the region remained limited. An agreement took place in May 1994, in which forces that were occupying Israel left a major part of the Gaza Strip and the police force from Palestine was employed in the region. The buffer zones that were present around the settlements of Israel and the frontier areas were retained by Israel. In the year 2000 the peace talks broke down and economy in the local areas was hurt with violence that resumed subsequently. As compared to the West Bank this Gaza Strip region experienced less fighting with the people of Israel. In response to attacks from Palestine, the army from Israel moved towards controlling some of the sections of the Gaza Strip and that too in an aggressive manner.

Attacks By Israelis Against Hamas

Attacks were also launched against the Hamas leaders by the Israelis which had a number of supporters in the Gaza Strip. A number of suicide attacks were also launched against the Israelis. The Hamas and Palestinian Authority forces which were dominated by the Palestine Liberation Organization also continued fighting in this region.

To withdraw troops and settlers from Israel from the Gaza Strip, a plan was announced by Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, in January 2004. The government adopted this plan subsequently as well. Accordingly in August 2005, evacuation of settlements took place and in the following month, forces from Israel began withdrawing. After the withdrawal, a threat was given from the Gaza Strip that it would descend into anarchic violence if the authorities of Palestine were not able to exert control over the region in an effective manner. Israel was attacked by the people of Gaza Strip and accordingly it suffered attacks from the Israelis in retaliation. In June 2005, this led to an open war after the Gaza Strip was invaded by a soldier from Israel and an Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas guerillas. In the months that followed, operations were mounted into the territory by Israel.

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Conflict Between Al Fatah And Hamas

There continued a constant conflict between Al Fatah and Hamas due to which the economy in the Gaza Strip became quite dire. The Palestinian Authority too received restricted funds. Then, with the defeat of Al Fatah the fight between the Palestinians ended in June 2007. After this the Gaza Strip came under the rule of the Hamas. Intra Palestinian conflict continued to prevail in the region. Gradually the flow of goods was also restricted into the Gaza Strip. In January 2008, the Gaza Strip’s blockage was tightened by Israel in response to the rocket attacks that continued from the region. This led to a number of shortages and the Hamas then forced the Egyptian border open. Right from 2005 the border was kept closed for a number of days. The blockade was challenged by an aid convoy from Turkey in May 2010 and was boarded in a deadly raid by forces in Israel in international waters. All over the world, this raid was widely condemned. The blockade gained a lot of attention from the world over. Border crossing of Egypt was reopened subsequently. Blockade on importing goods was eased out by Israel.

Ceasefire And Reopening Of The Border

Establishment of ceasefire in June 2008 with Israel took place. The border was reopened partially. Cease fire was held and in November 2008 there was a fighting outbreak but the following month it was ended officially. An offensive was mounted by Israel against Hamas in the later part of December 2008 and ground operations took place in the month of January 2009. In the Gaza strip around 1300 people died out of which half of them were civilians. In the middle of January, ceasefire was declared separately by Hamas and Israel after which forces from Israel gradually withdrew. In the conflict thousands of buildings were destroyed and damaged.

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A fact finding mission from the United States and human rights organizations from all over the world accused both the sides for war crimes. An attack across the borders took place after four years with sporadic mortar and rocket attacks and air strikes by Israelis, besides minor incursions across the border in November 2012.

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