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A worker carries a bag of flour at a United Nations food distribution center in Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip which many describe as the world's 'largest open-air prison.' (Photo: Suhair Karam / cc / IRIN)

Gaza by the Numbers: Who the People Are, How They got There

Juan Cole

 by Informed Comment

Population of Palestinians of Gaza: 1.7 million

Number of Palestinians in Gaza whose families were expelled as refugees from their homes in what is now southern Israel: 1.2 million

Number of Palestinians in Gaza still living in the 8 recognized refugee camps, “which have one of the highest population densities in the world”: over 500,000

Compensation Palestinians of Gaza have received for the billions of dollars of property taken from them by Israelis in Beersheva, Sderot, etc.: $0

Years since Israel allowed Palestinians of Gaza to export what they produce: 7

Unemployment in Gaza as a result of Israeli blockade on civilians: 38.5%

Estimated unemployment rate in US during the Great Depression: 25%

Percentage of children in Gaza suffering from acute malnutrition: 13.2%

Rate of anemia in Palestinian Children in Gaza: 18.9%

Percentage of water in Gaza that is potable: 10%

Years, according the the UN, before Gaza becomes “uninhabitable”: 6

Number of airports in Gaza rendered inoperable by Israeli airstrikes: 1

Number of airports working in Gaza: 0

Number of ports allowed by Israelis to operate on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast: 0


© 2021 Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His newest book, "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires" was published in 2020. He is also the author of  "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East" (2015) and "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East" (2008).  He has appeared widely on television, radio, and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. 

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