Historical Background

Who Controls Gaza Strip: Unpacking the Complex Landscape



The Gaza Strip, a small but densely populated piece of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, has been a focal point of conflict and contention for decades. Understanding who controls the Gaza Strip involves navigating a complex web of history, politics, and competing interests. In this article, we will discuss who is in charge of  Gaza Strip, the historical context, the Israeli disengagement plan of 2005, and the role of Hamas in shaping the current reality.

Historical Context: Who Owns the Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip has a long and complex history that extends back centuries. It has been under the control of various empires and states, including, in recent times, the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, before coming under Egyptian administration following the Arab-Israeli war in 1948. However, the situation dramatically changed after the 1967 Six-Day War when Israel captured the Gaza Strip, along with other territories.

Israel’s 2005 Gaza Disengagement Plan

In August 2005, Israel implemented the Gaza Disengagement Plan. This plan marked a significant shift in the Israeli approach to Gaza. The goal was to remove all Israeli civilians and military installations from the Gaza Strip, effectively ending the direct Israeli presence in the territory. While this move was seen by some as a step towards peace and a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it also marked the beginning of a new phase in Gaza’s complex history.

The Disengagement’s Impact

Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza left a power vacuum, and the question of who would fill it remained unanswered. The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas, was expected to assume control over the territory. However, this transition did not proceed as planned. Instead, the vacuum led to a power struggle and, eventually, set the stage for the rise of Hamas.

The Rise of Hamas

Hamas, a Palestinian political and military organization, had been gaining popularity in Gaza due to its social services and its militant resistance against Israel. After winning the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, Hamas took control of Gaza in a violent confrontation with Fatah, the political party led by Mahmoud Abbas. This internal conflict further complicated the control of the Gaza Strip.


December 27, 2008. In June 2007, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. This building is utilized by Hamas as a weapons arsenal.

Who Controls Gaza Strip Today?

As of today, the Gaza Strip is effectively controlled by Hamas, an Islamist terror organization. It’s important to note that the Palestinian territories are divided, with the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority. This division between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has added another layer of complexity to the question of who controls the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ Control

Hamas exercises both political and military control over the Gaza Strip. While they administer civilian affairs, including education, healthcare, and social services, they also maintain an extremist military wing. The military aspect of Hamas is a significant source of concern for Israel, as it has led to conflicts and rocket attacks targeting Israeli territory.

Freedom of Movement

The Gaza Strip shares borders with both Israel and Egypt. Both Israel and Egypt maintain strict border controls and security measures that limit the movement of Gazans into the two countries.

With that said, Israel issues thousands of work permits each year, providing employment opportunities for Palestinians from Gaza, especially in the agriculture and construction sectors.

International Perspectives

The situation in Gaza has garnered attention and concern from the international community. Many countries, along with organizations like the United Nations, have called for a resolution to the conflict and for the improvement of living conditions in Gaza. There have been numerous attempts at brokering ceasefires and peace agreements, but a long-term solution has remained elusive.

Challenges and Humanitarian Concerns

The control of Gaza by Hamas has led to numerous challenges and humanitarian concerns. The population in Gaza faces economic hardships, high unemployment, and limited access to basic services. Humanitarian organizations continue to provide aid to the people of Gaza, but the situation remains dire.

Implications for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The control of the Gaza Strip by Hamas has had a significant impact on the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has created a divided Palestinian leadership, with the West Bank and Gaza under separate administrations. This division has complicated peace negotiations, as there is no unified Palestinian leadership to negotiate with Israel.


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