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. the beginning of the second intifadah in september 2000 sparked an economic downturn, largely the result of israeli closure policies; these policies, which were imposed to address security concerns in israel, disrupted labor and trade access to and from the gaza strip. in 2001, and even more severely in 2003, israeli military measures in pa areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. the israeli withdrawal from the gaza strip in september 2005 offered some medium-term opportunities for economic growth, but continued israeli-imposed crossings closures, which became more restrictive after hamas violently took over the territory in june 2007, have resulted in widespread private sector layoffs and shortages of most goods.
Desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources
1,500,202 (july 2008 est.)
Middle east, bordering the mediterranean sea, between egypt and israel
Total: 360 sq km land: 360 sq km water: 0 sq km
Slightly more than twice the size of washington, dc
Conventional long form: none conventional short form: gaza strip local long form: none local short form: qita ghazzah
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