On October 7, the military wing of Hamas conducted an air and ground attack against Israel, taking hostages back into the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government responded with a complete siege on Gaza, stopping deliveries of food, water, electricity and other supplies, and carried out retaliatory air strikes.
Breaking Updates (As of October 13, 2023):
- Over 1,300 people in Israel and 1,799 people in Gaza have been killed.
- Between 100 and 150 Israelis and foreign nationals have been taken into Gaza as hostages.
- Human Rights Watch verified videos showing use of artillery-fired white phosphorus by Israel in Gaza City and two rural locations at the Israel-Lebanon border.
- Internet connectivity in Gaza has been below 20% since Tuesday because of the damage inflicted by Israeli air strikes, according to network analyst Doug Madory.
- The Israeli Defense Forces ordered 1 million Gazans, roughly half the population, to evacuate northern Gaza and go to the southern part of the territory.
- The UN urged Israel to reverse the order and U.S. Secretary of State Blinken says he, “rejects the forced displacement” of Palestinians.
Geography & Demographics:
- The Gaza Strip is a 25 mile long, roughly 5-mile-wide strip of land that borders Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea, and Israel.
- The population of Gaza is roughly 2.2 million and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
- More than half of the Gaza population lives in poverty.
- 45% of Gazans are unemployed.
- After Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel announced an air, land, and sea blockade that limits the movement of people and goods through Israeli-controlled crossings.
- 80% of Palestinians in Gaza depend on international assistance to survive due to the blockade.
- The ongoing conflict has severe impacts on children's mental health. One study showed as many as 42% of students needed psychosocial intervention due to trauma reactions.
- For Palestinians, leaving the Occupied Territories requires an Israeli issued travel permit. According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, Israel “refuses” to issue these permits to Gazans, with rare exceptions.
- After World War II, the UN proposed a partition between a Palestinian Arab and Jewish state.
- In 2005, Israel removed all Israeli settlers from the 17 settlements in Gaza.
- Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections in Gaza, beating the Fatah party, which runs the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.
- Hamas has not held elections in Gaza since 2006.
- In 2007, Hamas defeated Fatah in a military conflict in Gaza. The PA was expelled from the Gaza Strip.
- According to Freedom House, the Gaza Strip is a de facto one-party state under Hamas.