Flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain
Temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers
Population: 1,816,379 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Muslim (predominantly Sunni), Jewish, Christian
MAIN SECTS OF ISLAM (2:47)
Israeli security controls imposed since the end of the second intifada have degraded economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, the smaller of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories. Israeli-imposed border closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS seized control of the territory in June 2007, have resulted in high unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and a sharp contraction of the private sector that had relied primarily on export markets.