سم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Bismillā hir Rahmā nir Rahīm
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم):
Muslims understanding the history of Gaza is very important in helping the Palestinian People.
Gaza (Arabic: غزة ; also referred to as Gaza City) is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 410,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian Territories.
Gaza's history of habitation dates back 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Located on the Mediterranean coastal route between North Africa and the Levant, for most of its history it served as a key entrepot of southern Palestine and an important stopover on the spice trade route traversing the Red Sea.
Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC, Gaza has been dominated by several different people and empires throughout its history. The Philistines made it a part of their pentapolis after the Ancient Egyptians had ruled it for nearly 350 years. Under the Romans and later the Byzantines, Gaza experienced relative peace and its port flourished. In 635 AD, it became the first city in Palestine to be conquered by the Rashidun army and quickly developed into a center of Islamic law. However, by the time the Crusaders (Christian Europe, Attempting to regain control over Holy Lands which Muslims controlled ) invaded the city, it was in ruins. In later centuries, Gaza experienced several hardships - from Mongol raids to floods and locusts, reducing it to a village by the 16th century when it was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. During the first half of Ottoman rule, the Ridwan dynasty controlled Gaza and under them the city went through an age of great commerce and peace.
Gaza fell to British forces during World War I, becoming a part of the British Mandate of Palestine. As a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt administered the newly-formed Gaza Strip territory and several improvements were undertaken in the city. Gaza was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, but in 1993, the city was transferred to the Palestinian National Authority. Hamas took over the city in 2007 after months of clashes with its rival Fatah, and since then Gaza has been under a blockade by Egypt and Israel.
The primary economic activities of Gaza are small-scale industries, agriculture and labor. However, the economy has been devastated by the blockade and recurring conflicts. Most of Gaza's inhabitants adhere to Islam, although there exists a Christian minority. Gaza has a very young population with roughly 75% being under the age of 25, and today the city has one of the highest population densities in the world—refugees make up over half of the residents.
While leading the Allied Forces during World War I, the British won control of the city during the Third Battle of Gaza in 1917.
After the war, Gaza was included in the British Mandate of Palestine.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Gaza underwent major expansion. New neighborhoods were built along the coast and the southern and eastern plains. International organizations and missionary groups funded most of this construction.
In the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, Gaza was assigned to an Arab state but was later occupied by Egypt following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Gaza's growing population was augmented by an influx of refugees fleeing nearby cities, towns and villages that were captured by Israel. In 1957, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser made a number of reforms in Gaza, which included expanding educational opportunities and the civil services, providing housing, and establishing local security forces.
Gaza was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War following the defeat of the Egyptian Army. Frequent conflicts have erupted between Palestinians and the Israeli authorities in the city since the 1970s. The tensions lead to the First Intifada in 1987. Gaza was a center of confrontation during this uprising, and economic conditions in the city worsened.
In September 1993, leaders of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords. The agreement called for Palestinian administration of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, which was implemented in May 1994. Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza, leaving a new Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to administer and police the city.
The PNA, led by Yasser Arafat, chose Gaza as its first provincial headquarters. The newly-established Palestinian National Council held its inaugural session in Gaza in March 1996.
Palestinians in a Gaza neighborhood during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza Conflict (Source: Al Jazeera English)
Since the Palestinian organization Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian elections of 2006, it has been engaged in a violent power struggle with its rival Palestinian organization Fatah. In 2007, Hamas overthrew Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip and Hamas members were dismissed from the PNA government in the West Bank in response. Currently, Hamas has de facto control of the city and Strip.
In March 2008, a coalition of human rights groups charged that the Israeli blockade of the city had caused the humanitarian situation in Gaza to have reached its worst point since Israel occupied the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War, and that Israeli air strikes targeting militants in the densely populated areas have often killed bystanders as well.
In 2008, Israel commenced an assault against Gaza. Israel stated the strikes were in response to repetitive rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel since 2005, while the Palestinians stated that they were responding to Israel's military excursions and blockade of the Gaza Strip. In January 2009, Palestinian sources stated that at least 1,300 Palestinians were killed in the conflict. Later, an official IF (Israeli Forces) investigation
found that 1,166 Palestinians were killed, 709 of which were identified as Hamas terror operatives. 162 of them could not be identified, and 295 were confirmed as civilians. In addition, 4,000 buildings have been destroyed and 20,000 damaged throughout the Gaza Strip
sources: Al Jazeera English, Wikipedia