January 5th, 2009
06:32 PM ET

Background on Gaza

Program Note: Watch Anderson report LIVE from Israel tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.

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Gaza is a densely populated Palestinian territory about twice the size of Washington, D.C. About 1.5 million people live within Gaza's 146 square miles.

The United Nations estimated in 2007 that unemployment was close to 50 percent. International sanctions and Israeli restrictions have severely hampered the economy, which is largely based on agriculture. Nearly three-quarters of the flat, dry terrain is under cultivation.

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Gaza was occupied by Israeli troops from 1967 until the Oslo Accords in 1993, when most of those forces began to withdraw and limited power was handed over to the Palestinian Authority. But many issues remained unresolved, leading to violence between Israelis and Palestinians and even Palestinians and other Palestinians.

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Filed under: Crisis in Gaza
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Keith in Santa Cruz

    The people elected Hamas their leader and now they reap the consequences. Negotiation and sanctions has not worked as the world only says sanctions produce unemployment and problems for the people. There is only one answer and that is to have the world stand behind Israel and tell Hamas it must stop killing civilians. Look at the heart of the religion that is behind the Hamas movement and it seeks world domination. The world can not allow another Nazi like organization to prosper. We must unite behind Israel.

    January 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  2. Kathleen

    Sam – YOU are the one that needs to study history and "the facts." And make sure you're not just reading Zionist authors. Go to Israel and talk to all the diverse people who live there before spouting off about something you know little about. For the past twenty years I have made numerous trips to Israel. I was a "pro-Israel" Zionist. Israel had/has a great P.R. campaign going on here in the U.S. Like you, I defended Israel and believed all the propaganda until I saw the truth myself. I have seen firsthand the oppression of many innocent people. People just like you and me who want to live in peace and provide shelter, food and safety for their family. In spite of their frustration and humiliation they are more than willing to share what little they have and welcome you into their home. Not all Palestinians support violence or voted for Hamas. For the record Israel wanted and encouraged the election that put Hamas into power. Not all Israelis support violence and the assault on Gaza. 45% of the people living in Gaza are under the age of 15! I am appalled that the nation of Israel – once "the oppressed" has become the oppressor. The Israeli attack on Gaza is an unholy war.

    January 5, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Brian

    If the Palestinian people began to act like citizens of a functioning state, the more likely that would be to come true. This would exclude throwing rocks at Israeli tanks and firing rockets into Israel. It's the same as the suggestion that acting as if you've already achieved or received something helps make it real. Or dressing for the job you want instead of the job you have.

    Einstein's definition of insanity is continuing to do what you've always done but expecting a different result. I recognize Palestinians' right to elect Hamas as they did in 2005, but I was disappointed and in my opinion it was insane.

    Gardening, picking up the trash, and creating a pleasant environment in which to live could be combined with creating a functioning government, including courts, schools teaching employable skills, utilities, roads, services, communications, and the other things expected of a modern civilization. Today Israel can only be convinced that the more resources that enter the Palestinian territories, the more weapons will be aimed at Israel. Israel would probably provide material assistance if it felt safe from attack.

    January 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  4. Ash

    Moki you are on the money.

    January 5, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  5. Moki

    Out of compassion and guilt for the Holocaust the world stood by and let the Israelis take Jerusalem from the Palestinians in 1947. It was wrong and now we are paying for it dearly with our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror. The only long lasting solution is to make Jerusalem an Internationally owned and managed city. A long-lasting solution to the problems in the Middle East will not come through the use of military force.

    Zionism is elitist–the same stuff that racism is fashioned out of–and it is simply WRONG for America to support it.

    January 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  6. Sam

    It is amazing how you people speak against Israel so hashly and keep your mouths quiet everytime the suicide bombers killed innocent israeli citizens. Israel has allowed Palestinians to live freely in Israel with the same rights (voting, etc..) when the Arab countries around won't even let their palestenians citizens coem into their land.

    Please look up the facts and study history before coming out with false hate accussations against a nation that has been opressed for thousands of years.

    January 5, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  7. jim Fallbrook

    Let me see. Hamas starts firing rockets into Israel. No protests against Hamas. Once Israel retaliates, then the protests against Israel begins. The Palestinians voted to put Hamas in power. Hamas which is a terrorist organization hides behind women and children using them as human shields. When the so called innocent civilians are killed, the call Israel a terrorist nation. and to get sympathy from the international community. Giveme a break!!! I have no sympathy for the Palestinian people living in Gaza. They voted for Hamas and they should suffer the consequences of their actions.

    January 5, 2009 at 9:38 pm |
  8. RIME

    I AGREE WITH BILL AND MOKI!When will all this end!!!!

    January 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  9. Jackie

    It is absolutely appalling that our government is supporting the massacre of innocent Palestinian civilians. Israel has broken cease-fires in the past and haven't been penalized for it. They are also breaking all kinds of international laws and have no regard for human rights. America needs to cut off all aid to Israel immediately!

    January 5, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  10. xtina, chicago IL

    You previous commentors are wrong. Palestinians support terrorism. Israelis don't .

    January 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  11. Moki

    How many more hundreds of billions of dollars are we as Americans going to pay to support the Jews as God's Chosen People in their promised land?

    January 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm |

    ISRAEL DONT HAVE THE RIGHT TO STRIKE WITH SUCH FORCE. In all the previous cess-fire Israel never quit pressing the palestinians, give us freedoom, let us work, let us study. peace is what palestinians whant the one thing Israel has not gave us since 1967.

    January 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm |