SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 24, 2012

9 questions about Israel-Gaza you were too embarrassed to ask

WASHINGTON — This week's violence between Israel and Gaza is three things: complicated, confusing and important. As a result, you might have found yourself wondering what it's all about but too caught up in the minute-to-minute news cycle to grasp the basics. So, here is some basic background on the questions you may have nagging at you. Read it and consider yourself equipped for Thanksgiving dinner debates.

First, a disclaimer: History looms large in the Israel-Palestine conflict. For every one incident, there are decades of Israeli and Palestinian histories that inform both sides' interpretation of that incident and its deeper meaning. For practical purposes, this list is limited to simple, surface-level explanations.

1. What is the Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip is a small Palestinian territory, about twice the size of Washington, D.C., located along the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Israel. Palestinians are ethnic Arab and majority Muslim. It is deeply impoverished, kept in isolation by the Israeli military and ruled by Hamas, an anti-Israeli terrorist group.

2. Whoa! How did that happen?

In 1948, the United Nations declared that the British territory known as Palestine would be divided into two independent countries: Israel and Palestine. Arab leaders rejected the declaration and invaded to maintain a unified, independent, Arab Palestine. They lost, and by the time fighting ended, Israel controlled even more of the land than the U.N. declaration had granted the new country. One of the areas still under Palestinian control was the Gaza Strip. Israel occupied the territory in 1967, after another failed invasion by Arab states but withdrew its troops and settlers in 2005. Israel still maintains extremely tight restrictions on trade in and out of Gaza, which has a 40 percent unemployment rate. Thirty-eight percent of Gazans live under the poverty line. Gaza is not an independent country.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • City gets four bids for McKay School BEVERLY -- In the latest round of bids for the McKay School property, the city will consider four new proposals it received last week. The most recent proposals mark the fourth time the city has reviewed bids on the property and the second effort for

    August 20, 2014

  • Police to put down their pens, write electronic tickets BOSTON -- State troopers will soon toss handwritten tickets in favor of electronic citations to save money and time, and local police across the state could eventually follow suit. State police using the system will swipe or scan a driver's license t

    August 20, 2014

  • 140819_SN_DLE_VAPOR2 No 'butts' about it: Vapor stores pop up despite e-cig concerns Michael Greene sells e-cigarettes because they saved his life. And if they were available in the United States 17 years ago, they might have also spared his father, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years. "If you put too many regulati

    August 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140819_SN_DLE_MURPHY4 109 days, 2 new lungs later, Essex Deputy Sheriff Murphy comes home

    Dozens of friends and family members lined up on Balcomb Street Tuesday evening to greet Newton Murphy as he arrived home from his double lung transplant. Murphy, the Essex County deputy sheriff, had been in the hospital for 109 days after his surge

    August 20, 2014 8 Photos

  • Sex offender Matthew Delima, who fled with teen, gets 2-10 years

    SALEM -- A judge Tuesday returned a homeless Level 3 sex offender to state prison for two to 10 years, but he said that after reading police reports and other records in the case, he would have imposed even more time. The reason Judge Timothy Feeley

    August 20, 2014 3 Stories