During World War I, the Ottoman Empire lost the Gaza Strip to the British Empire. Thus, Gaza became part of the British Palestine Mandate under the League of Nations. In the UN partition plan in 1947, the Gaza Strip was supposed to become part of an Arab state, but the plan never became a reality because Egypt occupied the area in connection with the war against Israel the following year. Egypt then formally annexed Gaza.
When Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini, who during World War II recruited Bosnian Muslims into Hitler’s Waffen-SS, subsequently proclaimed an independent Palestinian state in Gaza, the decision was overturned by Egypt.
Israel captured the Gaza Strip after the Six Day War in 1967. The Oslo Accords in 1993 gave the Palestinian Authority control over Gaza, and the Israeli army partially withdrew from the area. In 2005, Israel forced the evacuation of all Israeli residents of the Gaza Strip, and today there are no Jews living in the area.
Many in the Palestinian population are supported by UNRWA as second, third and fourth generation refugees.
Since 2001, more than 20,000 missiles have been fired from Gaza at civilian targets in Israel. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have support from Iran. Israel’s army has repeatedly entered the area to disarm launch pads and missile depots.
Both Egypt and Israel have imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas came to power in 2007. Both Egypt and Israel justify the blockade as necessary to avoid arms smuggling.