The Gazaâ€“Israel conflict is an on-going conflict that escalated following Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip and is a component of the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Counterintuitively, the conflict increased following Israel's removal of all Israeli civilians and military from Gaza (completed by September 12, 2005). According to the terms of the Disengagement Plan, Israel retained exclusive control over Gaza's airspace, continued to guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, with the exception of its southernmost border (where Egypt retained control of the border and border crossings were supervised by European monitors), and continued to monitor and guard Gaza's coastline. Israel largely controls and provides for Gaza's water supply, electricity, and communications infrastructure. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, by the standards of international law, Israel still remains an Occupying Power.
When Islamic party Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election,held January 2006, gaining a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council, the conflict between Israel and Hamas-dominated Gaza intensified. Immediately following Hamas's victory in the 2006 elections, Israel largely sealed its border with the Gaza Strip, largely preventing the free flow of people, and many imports and exports. Palestinian militants have been shooting Qassam rockets at Israeli settlements located near the Gaza borders, and have staged cross-border raids aimed at killing or capturing Israeli soldiers. In one such raid, on June 25, 2006, Palestinian militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, leading to massive retaliation by the Israeli army which included air strikes against Hamas targets.
In June 2007, internal fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah and Hamas fully consolidated its power by staging an armed coup d'etat and taking control of the Gaza Strip. Following the internecine fighting that occurred between June 7 and June 15, 2007, also known as the Battle of Gaza 2007 in which 118 Palestinians were killed and over 550 were wounded, the entire Gaza Strip came under full control of a Hamas government.
As a response to the Hamas takeover, Israel sharply restricted the flow of people and goods into and out of Gaza. About 70% of Gaza's workforce has become unemployed or without pay, and about 80% of its residents live in poverty.
At the same time, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza continued firing rockets into Israel, killing several Israeli civilians, including children, and wounding many others. According to Human Rights Watch, these deliberate attacks against civilians violate international humanitarian law. Because Hamas exercises power inside Gaza, it is responsible for stopping unlawful attacks even when carried out by other groups.