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Four Palestinians were killed and some 370 were wounded by Israeli rubber bullet and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, as a series of massive protests kicked off along the security fence surrounding the enclave, Palestinian sources said.

A spokesperson for the ministry said one farmer was killed and another injured by Israeli artillery fire near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

The ambassador condemned the planned protest and said United Nations personnel in Gaza should refrain from taking part in the demonstrations.

Other tactics over the years, including cross-border wars with Israel and attempts to reconcile with political rival Mahmoud Abbas, the West Bank-based Palestinian president, have failed to end Gaza's isolation.

"Hamas is making cynical use of Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip as cannon fodder against the IDF, who have to protect the border fence and can not allow infiltration into Israeli territory at any price", Ben Menachem said.

Palestinians in Gaza Strip are preparing to launch the "The Great Return March" on Friday to protest against Israel's refusal to allow refugees right of return to their pre-1948 homes.

A jittery Israel has sent reinforcements to the border.

The Cabinet made a decision to significantly increase military deployments, in addition to using live fire and shoot to kill orders "if the Palestinians breach (or approach) the security fence" in the besieged coastal territory.

"We want to stand at the borders of our occupied lands, without carrying guns, to convey our message to the world".

It wouldn't be the first time: In October, 2015, hundreds of Gazans marched en masse toward the fence and broke through the 50 meter "security zone" that the IDF maintains near the border.

West Bank crossing points leading to Israel were unusually quiet on Friday morning, with a ban on many West Bank Palestinians entering through checkpoints.

Tension was high along the frontier because the protest coincided with the start of the Jewish Passover and the Christian celebrations of Good Friday, when Israel security forces are customarily on a state of high alert.

Water facilities were being installed and medical teams deployed to allow people to stay for long periods.

"In a way, Israel and Hamas have the same interest in this and do not want the situation to get out of control or lead to a larger confrontation", Inbari said.

The protest marks "Land Day", an annual Palestinian commemoration of the deaths of six Arab citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations over government land confiscations in northern Israel in 1976.

"70 years ago we left and today we have chose to return to our country", he told AFP.

Various IDF units have completed preparations to deal with the expected onslaught of protesters that are expected to throng the border fence in Gaza at the behest of Hamas tomorrow afternoon.


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