Palestinians enjoy the Mediterranean Sea at a Hamas-run beach resort in Gaza City. Ventures such as beach clubs, wedding halls and a shopping center are one way the militant Islamist group is strengthening its rule over the Gaza Strip. Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR

In the Gaza Strip, many homes remain in ruins after Israel's military incursion at the end of 2008 crippled the territory. The war destroyed thousands of buildings, but the Israeli government won't allow construction materials in even though there is a dire need. Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Bruce/VII Network for NPR

A screenshot of Egyptian riot police, taken from a video about protests on the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights' YouTube channel. EIPR/YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption EIPR/YouTube

Egyptian couples celebrate during a mass wedding organized by a charity organization in Cairo in December 2009. A housing shortage is driving the exorbitant price of marriage, which means weddings are often delayed for years. Amr Nabil/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Amr Nabil/AP