Palestinian Authority Blames Israel for Entire Gaza Fiasco, Naturally

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza

The Home Front Command lifted security restrictions on Gaza border communities on Thursday after a night without rocket fire from Gaza.

"Today's participation in the marches of return was a challenge to the threats of the Israeli occupation forces".

Since the demonstrations began on March 30, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed near the buffer zone - and thousands more injured - by Israeli army gunfire.

At least 130 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli army fire during Friday's protests near border of the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The militant Hamas group praised the turnout as a challenge to Israel, which was mulling a large-scale military response after a rocket was sacked from Gaza on Wednesday and destroyed a house in southern Israel.

"Given Israeli forces" horrific track record of using deadly force against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, as well as journalists, medics and others, the announcement of a "zero tolerance' policy is deeply alarming", said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet resolved to retaliate more severely to cross-border attacks, but has thus far refrained from further action, suggesting it was giving the Egyptians a chance to restore calm.

In southern Gaza Strip, an aircraft hit a group of Palestinians launching flaming kites and balloons toward Israel near one protest location, the Israeli military said.

In addition, humanitarian efforts there are taking place in coordination with, and in support of, Egypt's efforts to bring Gaza back under the full control of the legitimate Palestinian government, he noted.

Since March, Palestinians have marched to the border fence every Friday and occasionally breached it.

The large Israeli military deployment on Friday came a day after Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East, said: "We remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that nobody claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to prevent".

Cairo said this was a last-ditch effort to stave off ‎a military conflict between Hamas and Israel.‎.

Members of an Egyptian security delegation have met with senior Israeli officials to discuss the situation in blockaded Gaza, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA) reported Friday. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper. One Israeli soldier has died.



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