The Gaza Strip (Arabic: قطاع غزة Qiṭāʿ Ġazzah, ) is a strip of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest (11 km) and Israel on the east and north (51 km (32 mi)). It is 41 kilometres (25 mi) long, and from 6 to 12 kilometres (3.7 to 7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometres (141 sq mi). The population of Gaza Strip is about 1.7 million people. The population is predominantly Sunni Muslim. With a yearly growth rate of about 3.2%, the Gaza Strip has the 7th highest population growth rate in the world.
The Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949. Article V of the Agreement declared that the demarcation line was not to be an international border. The Gaza Strip continued to be occupied by Egypt. At first Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. From the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government in 1959 until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor.
Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt and occupied it in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centres. Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings apart from the land border with Egypt. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005.
The Gaza Strip forms part of the Palestinian territories. Since July 2007, following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and following the Battle of Gaza, Hamas has functioned as the de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip, forming an alternative Hamas Government in Gaza.
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“Perfect present has no existence in our consciousness. As I said years ago in Erewhon, it lives but upon the sufferance of past and future. We are like men standing on a narrow footbridge over a railway. We can watch the future hurrying like an express train towards us, and then hurrying into the past, but in the narrow strip of present we cannot see it. Strange that that which is the most essential to our consciousness should be exactly that of which we are least definitely conscious.”
—Samuel Butler (18351902)