BACKGROUND The population in the Gaza Strip has been living under chronically stressful conditions as a result of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. OBJECTIVES To identify health complaints reported by attendants consulting primary care physicians in the Gaza Strip. METHODS The study took place in 10 governmental primary health care centres and 5 clinics of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip, during autumn 2005. Self-reported health complaints were recorded through face-to-face interviews with 956 respondents using a validated and reliable questionnaire. RESULTS Abdominal pain and headache were the most frequent complaints reported among patients aged 18 to 44 years, accounting for 23.3% and 22.7% of total complaints in males and females, respectively. Fatigue and joint pain were the most common complaints among patients aged 45 years and above, accounting for 26% and 33.9% of total complaints in males and females, respectively. CONCLUSIONS The most common complaints, as reported by patients attending PHC facilities were stress-related and could be attributed to the ongoing conflict and high level of violence and uncertainty in the area. These complaints present a challenge to primary care providers in their efforts to improve the everyday quality of life of Palestinian residents with scarce means and resources.