Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

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World Map

On the heels of my post 21 Must-Know Facts about Israel

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the Gaza Strip, departing a bit from my mission to investigate the countries on this list of countries in Asia.

So, what do we know?

1. Gaza Strip sits borders the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the South.

2. Gaza Strip is just 360 square km, (139 sq mi) exactly half the size of the Hawaiian island of Maui and two times the size of Washington DC. It has no water that isn’t irrigated.

3. Gaza Strip has just 1,500,000 people. There have been more than 1,026,000 mobile phones sold. One in five residents is online. The population is about the same as that of Idaho, three times that of Wyoming, though Wyoming is 700 times the size. It’s also about the size of the Hawaiian island –  Lānaʻi

4. Gaza Strip‘s population grew in 1948-49 when thousands of Palestinian refugees fled there to escape fighting between Arab and Jewish forces. Most Gazans are descendants of those refugees.

5. Today one million Gazans are UN-registered refugees.

6. Gazans live primarily in refugee camps and are fed by the United Nations

7. One in five refugee dwellings in the Gaza Strip allows sewage and waste water to flow along the roads.

8. The average age in Gaza Strip is 17.6 years of age. 92% of them can read/write. More than one in six children aged 6-months to 5-years suffer from malnutrition.

9. The main languages of Gaza Strip are Arabic, Hebrew, and English.

10. One of the largest subgroups in /Gaza Strip is abt 500 Russian women who married students from the area who came to Russia and were brought back. (I only think this important because, well, you TRY to tell a Russian woman she is not important.)

11. In the Gaza Strip, 99.3% are Sunni Muslim and the rest are Christian (abt 10,500 people)

12. Gaza Strip does international business with Egypt, Israel, and the West Bank. That’s it. Imports and exports

13. When goods are brought in or taken out of Gaza Strip, Israeli security precautions require a back-to-back system – trucks are unloaded and loaded onto Israeli vehicles on each side.

14. Israel, United States, Canada and the European Union have frozen all funds to the Gaza Strip.

15. More than one in three people (34%) in the Gaza Strip are unemployed. How much different would things be if everyone had a job…I wonder out loud here? Some 4,000 people per square kilometer with nothing to do and extremist groups all around.

16. Next to Israel, Gaza Strip fears drought the most.

17. Israel maintains control of Gaza Strips:

  • airspace,
  • territorial waters
  • offshore maritime access,
  • the Gaza-Israel border

18. Egypt runs the southern border and governed Gaza Strip from 1948-1968.

19. An Israeli-built metal fence separates Israel and the Gaza Strip. There are tunnels under the border used to bring in goods and weapons.

20. The airport in Gaza Strip was put out of use by Israeli attacks in 2000.

#15 struck me the most when I looked up these facts. With 1 in three people having nothing to do with their time, what are they going to do? Something about idleness and the devil and workshop come to mind.

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Bill Belew

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

24 Comments

  • Geoserv says:

    STUMBLED!

    We have heard so much about this region, but it’s nice to see some facts that better describe it.

    Great post.

  • Art N says:

    360 square km is not 900 sq miles, it’s 139 sq miles so your credibility index precluded continuing.

  • dave says:

    The Gaza strip is tantamount to a WW2 Jewish Ghetto.

  • Arj says:

    As nice as it sounds for everyone to have a job (even in this nation), I don’t think it will happen. Violence is far too rampant in that area, making business start up a no go.
    Governments should have no jurisdiction over industry when it doesn’t involve necessary laws, so they really shouldn’t do anything about it here or there. How do you force a business to take on an employee if that business owner doesn’t want/need another?
    It would help if the violence stopped. And we also have to remember, Israel is not the only one shooting… They kill more people because they are far better at it than the Palestinians.

  • Sally says:

    Even if Palestinians were all employed – I think that it is much more desperation than idleness which drives people to extremist groups. In their eyes, they have little other option – and they may not be wrong.

  • cmonster says:

    FYI, the population of Wyoming as of 2006 is estimated to be 515,000. Gaza’s population would be 3x the size, accordingly.

  • Josh says:

    While the situation in Gaza is pretty terrible, they are kept behind a fence with high security checks because of the high number of suicide bombers killing israeli citizens coming from the area, and the number significantly dropped after the precautions where taken.

    Although i do agree, it’s horrendous what is going on.
    But two sides to every story.

  • myschkin says:

    Idleness and the devil and extremism? Golly gosh, someone got his facts muddled. More like pure, naive (and racist?) interpretism.

  • Anna says:

    Arj: Yes, Israeli forces aren’t the only ones shooting, but they certainly aren’t helping the situation. Maybe if Israel put down their guns long enough for the dust clouds to clear, they would see that oppression, desperation and starvation are driving the inhabitants of the Gaza strip to extreme measures. It’s all well and good to say that the fighting must stop, but if you and your children are starving to death and the only people around to offer you a job to feed your family is a terrorist organization, you’d take the job, too. It’s not as cut and dry as, “Make love, not war.” Palestinians must stop shooting also, but Israel’s policy of “An Eye For An Eye” only perpetuates the violence. In order for the fighting to stop, someone must first lay down their arms. As the more organized, wealthier and stable nation, I call on Israel to be the bigger country and create a new policy of unconditional humanitarian aide and rebuilding. Those people need stability and jobs, not more bombs and blockades.

  • Sim says:

    You forgot to mention that the people of the Gaza Strip elected a terrorist organisation as their ‘government’.

  • BigBob says:

    Sim,

    Ah, but sadly, the USA just did the same thing too.

  • Arj says:

    Anna: You’re assuming that the terrorist organizations would stop the violence if Israel did. I have my doubts about that. “Make love, not war” is a very easy thing to say, but in reality, it never works unless both sides are willing to cooperate. It isn’t like the Israelis have just perpetuated a needless war without attempting peace talks… Also, parenting starving children is hardly a justification for joining a terrorist organization.

    As for the United States, we have a problem with trying to create an empire. That should stop. Our government doesn’t respect our individual liberties anymore, so how can we expect them to respect the liberties and well-being of non-citizens? It’s a sad state of affairs…

  • Bunny says:

    Sim.

    Only dubbed a terrorist organization by USA, and then followed by a number of spineless world leaders. Hamas was/is more of a religious organization. For decades they have run most of the free schools in the region, they have supplied food to the starving when the Israelis and the Palestinian government couldn’t/wouldn’t.

    The US government is dubbed a terrorist organization by many people around the world… including much of the west… does that mean that the US government is ONLY a murdering set of warmongers? Does that mean that no one worldwide should deal with the US government? Does that mean we should lobby our governments to freeze all Americans funds and assets internationally?

  • Assaf - Israel says:

    Age structure
    0-14 years: 44.7% (male 343,988/female 325,856)
    15-64 years: 52.7% (male 403,855/female 386,681)
    65 years and over: 2.7% (male 16,196/female 23,626) (2008 est.)

    total population: 71.97 years
    male: 70.67 years
    female: 73.34 years (2006 est.)

  • Susan says:

    This trendy America-bashing is getting so tedious. To equate Hamas with the American government (i.e., as “terrorists”) is inaccurate, unenlightening, and very insulting to the U.S. To characterize Hamas as a benevolent religious organization seems pathologically-disingenuous. Dislike the U.S. and Israel as you may, but don’t lose your capacity for critical thought — ask the Lebanese about how constructive and mild-mannered Hamas is.

  • Big BOb is referring to George W. Bush, the outgoing president. The new one is a humanitarian and one with heart, not like a cold, uncaring neocon with a bunch of ignorant followers and a blind eye to reality. Wake up Bob.

  • Ash says:

    Arj if ur sister and ur mother raped and killed then u will not be able to open your mouth and call some body terrorist, may be u will be furious enough that people will start calling terrorist but if even if you are modest enough.what about those ladies who r raped and killed by isreal’s army

  • mick says:

    the israel had built the empire on the blood of the muslims, with the help of USA and UK otherwise they might be like sheeps and goats wondering about. this is there nature that they are one of the worse nation in the world and on one trust on them. the history is very much clear about them and the future will show all the world that they are rubbish. Whatever they are doing and achieving is on the basis that they got the money and they can buy everyone in the world like they buy the American nation. But I would like to tell you that they will not be able to defeat the muslims.

  • Ida says:

    Please read this article:
    The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict
    Published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/origin.html

    p/s: Try to read a few more articles from the site while you are at it.

  • James says:

    For whatever reason, Hamas or whoever in Gaza will take any handout, then turn right around and slap Israel in the face. Give them time to put their lives back together and they will just try to rearm themselves to continue attacking Israel. Anyone that gets in their was will be intimidated or accused of siding with Fatah and then killed. Hamas has run schools for decades? That’s too bad, because I don’t think they are trying to teach kids how to grow crops.

  • HAMZA says:

    you really are an idiot, some of your facts are true, but devil and the workshop, very subjective!! i advise you to go and read about this…

  • katie says:

    this information is great this site really helped me out with my final project last year

  • anonymous says:

    why didn’t you link unemployment with record breaking population growth and fertility?

  • Dr.Abe says:

    will i’m from gaza but i’m outside of it

    so to let everybody know “we r not terrorist or like to fight ”
    and to prove it we r, almost around the world so we could kill and be a terrorists.

    but though we like,and love all the human kind “so treat us as a human kind not to to kept us behind a fence with high security checks ”

    so the whole point is ” we as palestinians” moslems , Christians,and the natives jew don’t give up our land for killers and real terrorists”
    Thanks, Abe

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