Port of Gaza

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Port of Gaza
Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - The port of gaza..jpg
Gaza port, 1980
Country Palestine
Location Gaza Governorate, Gaza Strip
Coordinates 31°31′33″N 34°25′50″E / 31.52583°N 34.43056°E / 31.52583; 34.43056
Operated by Palestinian National Authority
Land area 48,000 sqm
Piers 970m + 330m

The Port of Gaza is a small port near the Rimal district of Gaza City.[1]


In antiquity, Gaza port was the principal port on the Mediterranean serving the Incense Road. Strabo and Ptolemy referred to it as Gazaion limen. The port was distinct from the city, which was located opposite it.[2] Under Constantine the Great, the settled area around the port was granted city status and named Konstaneia. Under the emperor Julian, it was downgraded and the name was changed to Maioumas ("harbor place").[2] It became associated at this time with a pagan festival.[3][4][5]

The Port of Gaza was at the end of the Nabataean spice road where trade was conducted in herbs, spices incense, drapery, glass and food. Goods arrived in the port on the backs of camels from Southern Arabia (the Kingdom of Sheba) through Petra, the Arava Valley and crossing Negev Desert via Avdat. At the port of Gaza, these goods were dispatched to the European markets.[6][7]

Alexander Jannaeus' conquest of Gaza (99 BCE) that denied the Nabateans access to the port and trade with Rome led to Obodas launching a military campaign against the Hasmonean King.[8]

Gaza Port was rebuilt after it was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 63 BCE under the command of Pompey Magnus and trade routes were reopened.[9]

In 2011, eight Roman columns believed to be the remains of a church were swept ashore during a storm.[10] In 2013, the Palestinian naval police found ancient artifacts that included poles and baked clay.[11]

After 1967[edit]

Before World War I, Gaza was a busy port. In 2006, after the election of Hamas, Israel imposed a naval blockade. Restrictions were tightened in 2007 after Hamas took full control.[12] Several attempts to break the Israeli blockade were made.[13] Israel has prevented most ships from docking at the port of Gaza, but has allowed at least two boats, carrying activists and some supplies to reach the port.[14]

Today the port is controlled by the Palestinian Naval Police force.[15]

In 2010, the port was deepened in preparation for the arrival of large international ships. A breakwater was constructed and lighting was installed. Hamas announced plans to develop the port to make it more accessible to fishermen and attract tourists.[16]

Gaza Seaport plans[edit]

Main article: Gaza Seaport plans

Since the 1993 Oslo I Accord, there have been plans to build a much larger seaport in Gaza. Due to the continuing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, these plans have not been materialized as of 2014.

In 2005, Israel approved Palestinian plans to rebuild and complete the construction of a port a few miles south of Gaza City, which had begun before the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000 and was destroyed by Israeli forces together with Gaza's existing airport near Rafah, following the outbreak of the Second Intifada.[17] Some academics have argued that a port which is under full Palestinian control is an essential step to achieving a lasting peace between Israel and a future Palestinian state.[18]

On 2014-05-16, the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights released a working paper mentioning that thousands of Palestinian have been suffering from severe blockade and siege for seven years; which prevent them travelling or having their essential needs. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, said that the blockade is a violation of human rights and humanitarian law. The San Remo Manual on International Law applicable to armed conflicts at sea states that if the supplies essential for their survival are not reaching them, then the blockading party must provide them with these materials, subject to;

(a) The right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and

(b) The condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. Both civilians and members of armed forces have the right to get medical supplies, subject to (a).

The "United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" in its Goldstone Report said that the blockading party is depriving the Palestinians from their freedom of movement, employment, housing, and even from water. However, both Egypt and Israel were demanded to open their crossings and ease their restrictions.


  1. ^ Dick Doughty, Mohammed El Aydi (1995) Gaza: legacy of occupation--a photographer's journey Kumarian Press, ISBN 1-56549-044-4 p. 13
  2. ^ a b The Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times, Raphael Patai
  3. ^ Bruria Bitton-Ashkelony and Arieh Kofsky (2004) Christian Gaza in late antiquity BRILL, ISBN 90-04-13868-4 p 3
  4. ^ Gerald Butt (1995) Life at the crossroads: a history of Gaza Published by Rimal Publications, ISBN 1-900269-03-1 p 9
  5. ^ Glen Warren Bowersock, Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Oleg Grabar (1999) Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-51173-5 p 553
  6. ^ Hecht Museum The Nabateans in the Negev Curator: Renate Rosenthal-Haginbottom
  7. ^ Israeli MFA
  8. ^ Hanan Eshel (2008) The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 0-8028-6285-3 pp 117-133
  9. ^ "Gaza - (Gaza, al -'Azzah)". Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 2000-12-19. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  10. ^ Gaza's archaeological treasures at risk from war and neglect
  11. ^ Gaza naval police excavate archaeological site off the Gaza coast
  12. ^ Guardian Israeli navy blocks Gaza aid ship 1 December 2008
  13. ^ Haaretz 29 July 2008 U.S. leftists confirm plans to sail to Gaza to break siege by Associated press
  14. ^ Jpost Navy lets another boat into Gaza port By Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon 9 December 2008
  15. ^ BBC
  16. ^ Gaza port readies for flotilla, Jerusalem Post
  17. ^ Telegraph 17 February 2005 Palestinians to rebuild Gaza sea port in latest peace move
  18. ^ Economic viability of Gaza Port

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°31′30.77″N 34°25′51.84″E / 31.5252139°N 34.4310667°E / 31.5252139; 34.4310667