"Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade on Gaza after Hamas violently seized the territory from forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from getting weapons and building militant infrastructure, while critics say it amounts to collective punishment.
Since its takeover, Hamas has fought three wars with Israel, including 50 days of fighting last summer in which thousands of Gaza buildings were either destroyed or damaged. Over 2,200 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed during the war. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed."