June 15, 2010

The Palestinian Authority (PA) received control of specific parts of the Gaza Strip in 1993 as part of the Oslo accords. In August 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew its military and civilian presence from Gaza, while maintaining control over crossings and access into Gaza by land, sea and air. Below is a timeline of the major events and corresponding policy shifts in Gaza since that withdrawal.

January 2006: Hamas wins a majority of seats in Palestinian elections. Following the elections, the Quartet (European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States) says that aid to the PA will only continue if Hamas agrees to its requirements of renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and agreeing to previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas refuses and the United States and EU stop payments to the PA and instead channel aid through a temporary international mechanism to the Palestinian people. Israel stops transferring $55 million in taxes to the PA, collected on its behalf, but does not restrict movement into and out of Gaza.

June 2006: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is abducted by Hamas in a cross-border raid; Israel responds with a large scale incursion to rescue Shalit and by restricting the movement of goods into Gaza.

February 2007: Hamas and Fatah sign the Saudi-mediated Mecca Agreement, creating a Palestinian unity government.

June 2007: After armed clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hamas ejects Fatah forces from Gaza and wins control over the coastal strip. In response, Israel and Egypt close their borders with Gaza for nearly all goods.

June 2008: Israel and Hamas agree to unilateral six-month ceasefires. While there was not an agreed upon text, stipulations in the truce relate to the end of rocket attacks into Israel and the easing of the blockade, among others. Rocket fire decreases from 300 in May to 5 to 30 from June to September. The number of daily trucks allowed into Gaza increases about 25 to 30 percent, from 70 to 90, and more diversified goods are allowed in. This is a smaller amount than what Hamas had expected; Israeli officials said they planned to increase the amounts but the rocket fire continued.

December 2008: The ceasefire begins to fray in late 2008 and expires on December 19. Large-scale fighting between Hamas and Israel begins soon after, resulting in the deaths of 1,116 to 1,417 Palestinians depending on the source and 13 Israelis.

January 2009: Israel and Hamas accept separate ceasefire agreements days before President Obama takes office..

December 2009: Israel allows glass into Gaza for reconstruction purposes. Israel later begins to allow additional construction materials including wood, aluminum and cement into the coastal strip.

May 2010: Israeli soldiers killed 9 activists in a raid of the Mavi Marmara flotilla destined for Gaza. Following the raid, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is considering easing the naval blockade of Gaza.

For more information on Gaza see previous Background Basics on “The Gaza-Egypt Border,” “Escalation of Hamas-Israel Conflict,” “Recent Interventions by International Actors in the Gaza Strip,”“History of Hamas and Current Leadership,” and “Timeline of Israel-Hamas 2008 Ceasefire.”



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