As you follow the news related to the latest series of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, it is important to give a bit of background about the region for some context in case you are unaware of the history or significance of the region.
The Gaza Strip is a region along the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the east.
In 1994, Gaza was awarded self-governance by Israel through the Palestinian Authority. This came after generations of military occupation by Israel, Egypt, Great Britain and Turkey. Neither Gaza nor Palestine have ever been a sovereign state, but theirs cultures have been embedded in the region for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Many of the violent conflicts between Israel and Gaza over the years have been related to the region fighting for independence. The most recent conflict between Israel and Gaza, according to the Israeli government, was to stop rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel. Currently, Gaza is under the control of Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization. As of the end of August, the two declared a cease-fire in the latest conflicts, but there is still plenty of tension in the region.
The region’s current northern and eastern boundaries were established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and there has been conflict ever since about the rights to govern the region.
In 2005 the area known as Gush Katif, which was home to 8,600 Israeli residents, was forcibly “evacuated”—i.e. all Israelis were removed from their homes and their communities were demolished as part of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
There is a significant amount of history in Gaza dating back dozens of generations, so it’s really difficult to boil down everything that’s happened into one short timeline. This is why there is no good way to answer people who ask why Israel and the Palestinians have been at odds with each other for so long – there is such a long history of conflict between the two sides that the issues of become entangled and evolved over the centuries.
We encourage you to pray for Israel and for an end to the fighting. The region has been war-torn for far too long. If you are interested in supporting our mission work in Israel and the Middle East, contact us at Curt Landry Ministries for more information.