Palestinians Protest on Heels of Israel's 70th Birthday

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More than 1,600 have been wounded by live rounds in the past three weeks, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Israeli military aircraft have dropped leaflets urging Palestinians to stay away from the Gaza-Israel border fence and warning that they endanger their lives if they follow directives of Hamas organizers of weekly protests there.

The protest campaign, dubbed The Great March of Return, is leading up to 15 May, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, commemorating their displacement around the time of Israel's founding in 1948.

Thousands of Gazans were gathered on Friday at various locations along the border in the blockaded enclave, calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their former lands in what is now Israel.

Four Palestinians were killed Friday amid marches that have been ongoing since late March, according to The Associated Press. Israel says firebombs and explosive devices have also been used. Rights groups have branded open-fire orders as unlawful, saying they effectively permit soldiers to use potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters.

Palestinian women throw stones past smoke plume rising from burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces across the border on April 20, 2018. Referring to the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, the leaflet said: "You are participating in violent riots".

"Every week there are fewer people, but much more terror activity", Lieberman said of the border riots.

The Palestinians said Friday they want the UN Human Rights Council to establish a commission to carry out an independent investigation of the Israeli military's killing and wounding of Palestinians during protests in Gaza.

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Earlier, two Palestinians had been shot dead by IOF in the northern Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, the militant group Islamic Jihad released a video showing a gunman watching Israeli army officials through the scope of a rifle. "And think that you are protected". It was reported that last Saturday envoys from the Egyptian security services visited Gaza and demanded that Hamas, which governs the territory, call off the protests.

Rockenschaub went on to note that Gaza medical facilities "are already extremely limited due to chronic shortages of medicines, medical disposables, and inadequate supplies of electricity and fuel for emergency generators in hospitals", all of which are the result of Israel's blockade-aided by Egypt-of the territory. Hamas is believed to hold the remains of two soldiers from a previous war with Israel.

The planned six-week protest campaign reached its half-way point on Friday, which saw smaller crowds than in recent weeks.

A large prayer site was set up, and a troupe performed an Arab and Palestinian folk dance called "dabke". Several kites crossed into Israel and were extinguished when required, said the Israeli military.

"If Hamas decided not to participate, the number of protesters would be really low, " he said. "Throwing molotov cocktails is not peaceful - it's violent". The Palestinians say the rising casualty toll signals that Israel's military is sticking to its open-fire rules against the protesters despite worldwide criticism of the use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators. Vendors with carts and megaphones sold everything from nuts to ice cream to grilled liver sandwiches.

Egypt was no doubt acting on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni oil monarchies, which are ever more closely aligning themselves with the U.S. and Israel in preparation for military confrontation with Iran.

Israel's Foreign Ministry tweeted a photograph of one kite daubed with a swastika flying through the sky trailing flames.

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