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The Port of Gaza is in the Rimal district of Gaza[1] and home to the Palestinian Naval Police force.[2] Originally the name of the Port city was Maioumas which is linked to a licentious Pagan festival.[3][4][5] The Port of Gaza was at the end of the Nabataean spice road. Where trade with the West in herbs, spices incense, drapery, glass and food on the backs of camels came from Southern Arabia (the Kingdom of Sheba) through Petra, the Arava Valley and crossing Negev Desert via Avdat and ending at the port of Gaza for 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. The destruction of the Hasmonean army in the Golan Heights precipitated a decline in Hasmonean fortunes.[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]


Israel imposed a naval blockade on Gaza after Hamas were elected, and the restrictions were tightened after Hamas took full control.[10] Several attempts to break the Israeli blockade were made.[11] 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. [12] An Iranian ship sailing from Bandar Abbas to the port of Gaza, with humanitarian aid, was diverted during the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[13]

Future of the Port of Gaza

In 2005, Israel approved Palestinian plans to rebuild and complete the Port of Gaza, which was destroyed by Israeli forces following the outbreak of the Second Intifada. 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.[14] [15]


  1. ^ Rimal is the lone elite district of the city. For millennia, until shortly after World War I, it was a crowded port, a shipping point along trade roads Dick Doughty, Mohammed El Aydi (1995) Gaza: legacy of occupation--a photographer's journey Kumarian Press, ISBN 1565490444 p 13
  2. ^ BBC
  3. ^ Bruria Bitton-Ashkelony and Arieh Kofsky (2004) Christian Gaza in late antiquity BRILL, ISBN 9004138684 p 3
  4. ^ Gerald Butt (1995) Life at the crossroads: a history of Gaza Published by Rimal Publications, ISBN 1900269031 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 0674511735 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 0802862853 pp 117-133
  9. ^ "Gaza - (Gaza, al -'Azzah)". Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 2000-12-19. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  10. ^ Guardian Israeli navy blocks Gaza aid ship 1 December 2008 However, since the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas won parliamentary elections nearly three years ago, Israel has imposed ever tighter restrictions on Gaza. When Hamas took full control of Gaza last summer those restrictions became an economic blockade, while Egypt has also kept its one crossing into Gaza at Rafah largely closed.
  11. ^ Haaretz 29 July 2008 U.S. leftists confirm plans to sail to Gaza to break siege by Associated press
  12. ^ Jpost Navy lets another boat into Gaza port By Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon 9 December 2008
  13. ^ New York Times Israel Halts Ship to Gaza, Iran Says by Nazila Fathi 13 January 2009
  14. ^ Telegraph 17 February 2005 Palestinians to rebuild Gaza sea port in latest peace move
  15. ^ Economic viability of Gaza Port



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