It's a bloodbath in Gaza.
Since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza Strip risks turning from an open-air prison into a cemetery due to the ongoing genocide, as reported on November 3 by United Nations experts.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas have never subsided but with the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation on 7 October, the conflict exploded and risks spreading to the entire Middle East, considering the attacks by Hezbollah from Lebanon and those of the Houthis in Yemen.
Meanwhile, the victims of this war are being counted: almost 1,500 Israeli people have died, while 9,488 Palestinians have died in Gaza, of which 3,900 are children.
Horrifying numbers but never as much as the images that come from Gaza, when citizens have access to the internet and electricity, which is more difficult than ever after the blockade of electricity and the siege imposed by Israeli forces.
To these numbers must be added another 140 victims in the West Bank due to settler violence against the Palestinian population.
The Gaza Strip has been disputed between Israel and the Palestinian authorities for over 70 years, becoming the theater of one of the longest-running and bloodiest conflicts in contemporary history: a strip of land stained with blood, which has not known peace since the end of the Second War world.
Yet, despite people talking about the Strip for decades, not everyone knows what it is, where it is, who lives there and why it continues to be a place of clashes today, thanks to a half-baked narrative that only takes Israel's point of view into consideration , forgetting the history that has marked the Gaza Strip.
Below we try to dispel any doubts: here is everything you need to know about the Strip and the Israeli-Palestinian war.
read also Who is right between Israel and Palestine? What is the Gaza Strip and where is it located? The Gaza Strip is an exclave of Palestinian territory, bordering Israel and Egypt and for years has been the subject of contention between Tel Aviv and Ramallah (the de facto Palestinian capital).
A strip of land measuring only 365 km², the Gaza Strip alone has 1.8 million Palestinian inhabitants and borders Egypt to the south-west and Israel to the east, which obtained it in 1967, after the Six Day War.
an Arab-Israeli conflict which saw Israel and Egypt on the front lines.
To better understand where the Gaza Strip is located, it may be useful to consult a geographical map, such as the one developed by Il Post: The Gaza Strip is often defined as a large open-air prison, because it is surrounded by the barrier built by Israel, on which only three crossings open: two on the Israeli border, Eretz and Kerem Shalom, and one on the Egyptian one, the Rafah crossing.
The UN still considers the Gaza Strip as occupied territory due to border control and the economic blockade of Israel which – like Egypt – retains part of the goods.
Since 2012 it has formally recognized the Strip as part of the State of Palestine, a semi-autonomous state entity, which according to the Hague Court includes Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (officially the capital).
Currently, there are more than 130 countries in the world that recognize the State of Palestine, but among these there are not the United States, Israel's historic allies, nor Western Europe, including Italy.
The Gaza Strip, today, is under the control of Hamas, which duly won the elections in 2007, getting the better of al-Fath, the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) party, which gave rise to a civil war between Hamas and the PNA, with Hamas winning once again.
The party and its formation, however, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe, which do not recognize its jurisdiction over Gaza; Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom classify only its military wing – the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades – as a terrorist organization.
read also What is Hamas, what it wants and who finances it Who lives in the Gaza Strip? The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
In just 365 km² it hosts (or perhaps we should say hosted due to the ongoing ethnic cleansing) almost 2 million people, of which about half are minors.
After the Six Day War of 1967, Israel occupied Gaza, maintaining over the years its illegal colonial settlements which reached 21, hosting over 9,000 Jews, but since 2005, when Israel decided to dismantle its settlements, keeping them only in the West Bank, the Strip is entirely inhabited only by Palestinians, who represent a people without a state.
Of which over 1,200,000 are Palestinian refugees, i.e.
people who were expelled during the Arab-Israeli wars starting from 1948, losing their homes.
To date, the Palestinian population is composed mostly of Muslim Palestinians and to a small extent also of Christian Palestinians.
The conditions of the population are dramatic: the inhabitants live crowded together in dilapidated buildings and the services and the supply of water and energy are under the control of Israel.
According to a 2021 World Bank report, 59.3% of the Strip's population lives below the poverty line and the unemployment rate exceeds 50%.
Gaza Strip, why is it a place of clashes? The Gaza Strip has not known peace for over 70 years.
In the last eighteen years alone, seven wars can be counted, including the one that exploded yesterday after the Hamas attack on Tel Aviv, which have torn this strip of land apart.
But in order to understand why the Gaza Strip is still a place of clashes today, as Professor James Gelvin suggests in his book The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we need to know its entire history and the mechanisms of a nationalism (both Israeli and Palestinian) that led to a century-long conflict.
Providing an accurate summary of the history of the Gaza Strip, we must start from the end of the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire, which has governed that territory since 1517, was dismantled.
After the First World War, Gaza became part of the British Mandate of Palestine – it was a British politician Arthur Balfour who declared himself in favor of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1917.
English rule, however, ended at the end of the Second World War.
And according to the 1947 UN partition plan, the Gaza area was destined to become part of a new Arab state.
After the Arab-Israeli War, launched by the Arab states to free themselves from Israel and the latter's declaration of independence in 1948, the Gaza Strip found itself isolated from the remaining Palestinian territory, and it was Egypt that took over the administration which lost after the 1967 Six Day War against Israel.
Israel then occupied the Gaza Strip for 27 years, from 1967 to 1994, creating 21 settlements.
However, despite the well-known Oslo agreements of '94 establishing a gradual transfer of governmental authority for the Palestinians, Israel maintained control of airspace, territorial waters, offshore maritime access, population registry, entry of foreigners, imports and exports, as well as the tax system.
read also Who was there before, Palestine or Israel? A bit of history on the conflict It is in this period that the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), led by Yasser Arafat, obtained recognition of the Palestinian authority in the rest of the country: the West Bank.
In all these years, however, Israel's control of the numerous services listed above has meant that it has maintained de facto control over the Strip.
We then reach 2005, when Israel evacuated the Strip, dismantling the colonies, leading to a new phase of instability, which saw the Strip first come under the control of the PA, led by al-Fatḥ, and then be governed by Hamas , the Palestinian Islamist paramilitary group, which won the elections in 2007.
Since Hamas has been in control of the Strip, Israel has declared it a "hostile territory", applying an embargo on Gaza with the interruption for long periods of the supply of electricity, fuel and essential goods, as well as blocking exports, to the detriment of the health and education of Palestinian civilians.
Hamas' rocket attacks on Israeli cities then made the situation worse from time to time.
Among the bloodiest wars we remember: the Israeli military operation Cast Lead in 2008 which lasted 22 days against the Gaza Strip, which caused the death of over 1,300 Palestinians.
the Israeli Operation Protective Edge in 2014, which lasted 51 days and caused the death of over 2,100 Palestinians, about half of whom were civilians.
But behind the military operations, the stalemate in the Gaza Strip has been used politically both by Hamas, which controls Gaza with an iron fist, receiving financial and military aid from Iran, and by Israeli prime ministers, to keep public opinion united.
We arrive at August 13, 2020 with the Abraham Accords, a joint declaration between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, which marked the beginning of dialogue between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which has always been a political ally of Palestine.
This has left Palestinians feeling abandoned as they continue to suffer the effects of full-blown apartheid.
To date, the one between Palestinians and Israelis is called the "impossible peace", especially due to the extreme nationalism of the two countries, with Palestine seeing Israel as a colonial invader that threatens the survival of the country and Israel seeing Palestine's attempt to being independent is a threat to his survival.
For these reasons, the Gaza Strip will remain a territory of war for a long time to come.
Not to mention that the international community remains immobile, indeed the United States' support for Israel has meant that the country remains the only superpower in the Middle East, turning a blind eye to its production of nuclear weapons and the misery that Palestinian civilians find themselves in .
After 56 years of occupation of the Palestinian Territories, in 70 years we have entered the fifteenth Israeli-Palestinian war and unfortunately civilians (Israelis and especially Palestinians) will once again pay the costs.
read also Two States for two peoples, is it really the solution to the war between Israel and Hamas?
It's a bloodbath in Gaza.