What are the Gaza Strip and the West Bank?
The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two Palestinian territories that were part of Mandate Palestine and were captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. There are over 5 million Palestinians combined living in the two territories.
The Gaza Strip is 140 sq miles of land located in the southwest corner of Israel, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It also shares a border with Egypt to the south.
The West Bank is another area of land located within the country of Israel, but it is much larger than the Gaza Strip at 2,173 sq miles. The West Bank stretches across the eastern border of Israel along the west banks of the Jordan River and most of the Dead Sea, thus how it received its name. The holy city of Jerusalem is considered by international law as part of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem being claimed as the capital by both Israelis and Palestinians.
In 1967, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria were involved in a military struggle most commonly known as the Six-Day War. Up until that point, the Gaza Strip had been under Egypt’s control and the West Bank under Jordan’s. However, after the Six-Day War, both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were seized by Israel.
There has been a conflict over the specific territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for over a hundred years, dating back even before Israel became a country. Since the Six-Day War, though, the tension between Israelis and Palestinians living in the territories has been constant, often ending in violence. Because Israel controls all access into the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Palestinians living there are under military occupation and are subject to Israeli restrictions, often depending on aid for food, water, and supplies.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund is not a political or religious organization, but we serve vulnerable children in Palestine and throughout the Middle East where many countries are primarily Muslim. Our humanitarian work is even more critical now due to the recent events in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. We rely on charitable giving to continue our efforts to help children and their families. There are many ways to get involved with PCRF and make a difference today.