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Republic of Gaza
Gaza
Flag of Gaza
Coat of arms of Gaza
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "חכם במעשים"
"Wise in deeds"
Locator Map of Gaza
Capital
and largest city
Gaza City
Official languages English
Recognised regional languages Hebrew, Arabic
Demonym Gazan
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
John Semler (Boh.)
Sara Guilder (Boh.)
Legislature National Assembly
Independence
1951
27 November 1974
17 February 1976
Area
• Total
360 km2 (140 sq mi) (205th)
Population
• 2015 estimate
1,212,447 (158th)
• 2010 census
1,211,006 (158th)
• Density
3,368/km2 (8,723.1/sq mi) (6th)
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
• Total
$49.953 billion (102nd)
• Per capita
$41,200 (23rd)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
• Total
$45.455 billion (87th)
• Per capita
$37,490 (25th)
Gini (2015) 0.311
low
HDI 0.867
very high · 28th
Currency Shekel (GZS)
Time zone Gaza Standard Time
Drives on the right
Calling code +970
Internet TLD .gz

The Republic of Gaza, commonly referred to as just Gaza, is a sovereign state located in the Levant region of the Middle East. Gaza borders Israel to its north and east, Egypt to its south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Gaza is a small country in comparison to its neighbours, and has one of the smallest land areas of any sovereign state in the world.

Gaza is a unitary parliamentary republic with a unicameral legislature known as the national assembly. The member of the national assembly with the most votes of confidence in leadership, usually the head of a party of coalition of parties, then becomes the prime minister, the head of state and government for the nation. Elections are held every three years, and a high voter turnout is common in the country. The government of the republic is officially secular, although almost all of the population practices Judaism. Unlike neighbouring Israel, there is no state religion, and as such, no limitations on who may or may not hold citizenship, despite a heavy prevalence of immigrants being Jewish in ancestry or religion. The contemporary democratic government is considered to be one of the most successful and stable in the region, and was founded with the implementation of the nation’s constitution in 1976.

Gaza has a documented history that stretches back thousands of years. Originally built by Canaanites, Gaza was eventually absorbed into the Kingdom of Israel under King David, though it was ruled by various other empires in its early history, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The Byzantine Empire converted the region to Christianity around the same time of the split of the Roman Empire in 420, though only about 200 years later, the region was conquered by the Muslim Rashidun Caliphate in 635 as a part of Palestine. Despite a brief period of Crusader rule from 1100 to 1187, the region was heavily Islamic during the time of its incorporation into the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. Also, despite a brief period of Egyptian rule from 1831 to 1840, the region was ruled by the Ottomans until its capture by the Triple Entente in 1917. In 1947, the land now making up the republic was set aside for Palestinian Arabs, though in 1951 the Israeli government sponsored Jewish settlement of what was then known as the Gaza Strip. By 1966, Jews outnumbered the Arabs, prompting a conflict that led in the expulsion of a large portion of the Palestinian population and a strong influx of English-speaking Jews. In 1974, the region was stabilised, and the contemporary government was declared in 1976. Since then, Gaza has massively improved its economy and general public welfare through a series of both public and private interests supported by the government.

Although it is small, the county of Gaza has a highly efficient and modernised economy based around local services and small business. One of the most prosperous countries in the Levant, Gaza enjoys a particularly stable economic environment due to its friendly or neutral relationships with its neighbours, which has given it a highly advantageous economic position than many other countries in the region. As such, Gaza is home to a large shipping industry that was originally birthed by the oil boom that jump started the nation’s modern economy in the later half of the 20th century. In the contemporary period, Gaza has a high percentage of its economy dedicated to services. Important exports of the country include petroleum, refined petroleum products, luxury wool goods, luxury leather goods, luxury wood, wine, olive oil, a variety of crops such as olives, oranges, rye, and onions, and a variety of foods such as beef and mutton.

Gaza enjoys particularly warm relations with most of its neighbours, as opposed to the state of affairs for neighbouring Israel. Considered to be the result of peaceful and cooperative interaction, most countries in the region have made amends with the Gazan nation state, and pursued economic and political cooperation since such amends were made. Generally speaking, the largest allies of Gaza include Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, Jordan, and Kuwait. However, Iran is the only country which still refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the current Gazan government, considering Gaza to be an occupied territory. Nonetheless, Gaza is a member of the League of Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and a global partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Etymology

The name Gaza comes from the name of the city of Gaza, which serves as the capital of the republic. The origin of the word is believed to come from the military records of Thutmose III of Ancient Egypt, who called the city Ghazzat, or, Prized City. Ancient Muslims thus referred to the city as Ghazzat Hashem in reference to the traditional Islamic belief that the burial site of Muhammad's great-grandfather Hashim was within the city. In Semetic languages, the meaning of the city's name is strong or fierce. Over time, the name was shortened from Ghazzat to Gazza, and then into the present Gaza. The word Gaza was adopted by the constitution passed in 1976 as the official name for the contemporary Republic of Gaza, which encompassed both the city of Gaza and the regions historically related to the city.

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