Working for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip is challenging and rewarding. The security environment and the Israeli-imposed restrictions make specific demands on international staff. The Agency has an impressive record on protecting the security of international staff.
The Gaza Strip takes its name from Gaza, its main city. The territory has about 1.4 million Palestinian residents.
Location and geography
The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt at the south-west and Israel to the north and east. It is about 41km long, and between 6km and 12km wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometres. The border with Israel is 51km; with Egypt, 11km. The Mediterranean coastline is 40km. The terrain is flat to rolling with a sand- and dune-covered coastal plain.
The Gaza Strip has a temperate climate, with mild winters, and dry, hot summers subject to drought.
The principal ethnic majority are the Palestinian Arabs, who account for 99 per cent of the population. The people of Gaza are welcoming and warm to visitors.
Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 99.3 per cent, Christian 0.7 per cent.
The official language is Arabic. Many Palestinians also speak Hebrew. English is also widely understood.
The currency in the Gaza Strip is the Israeli shekel (NIS).
Gaza time is GMT +2.
Routine and emergency healthcare is available in Gaza. For international staff memberse, surgery and long-term care is readily available in Israel.
There are three apartment buildings in Gaza in which UN staff are authorised to reside. The apartments are all very modern. Rent depends on the size and location, and includes everything except electricity. Although Gaza is a non-family duty station, staff members can set up a second household in Israel in order to have their family close.
Erez, at the north of the Strip, is the entry/exit point to Gaza to Israel. From Erez to Palestine Square is a 20-minute ride. From Palestine Square, a taxi service is available to anywhere within the Gaza Strip.
Internet access is readily available in Gaza, with sufficient bandwidth to support Skype and other communication programs. Each staff member is issued a mobile phone from the Agency and pays for any private calls they make.
Living in Gaza
Generally speaking, the local Palestinians are delighted to welcome visitors and appreciate any outside interest in their living conditions. However, visitors must dress modestly: cover upper arms and shoulders and absolutely no shorts for either men or women. Visitors should also avoid wearing olive or military-style clothing. A few hotels are available for short-term visitors.