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Gaza clashes ‘cannot continue’ — Israeli defence minister

By AFP - Oct 17,2018 - Last updated at Oct 17,2018

Palestinian protesters during demonstration on the beach near the maritime border with Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday (AFP photo)

Israeli official Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that months of Palestinian protests on the Gaza border cannot be allowed to go on, urging occupation authorities to back tougher measures.

"The situation as it is today cannot continue," Lieberman told troops and commanders at Reim occupation military base, near the southern border with Hamas-ruled Gaza. "We are not prepared to accept the level of violence we see week after week."

The Islamist Hamas has organised months of often violent border protests, with at least 205 Palestinians and one Israeli killed since March 30.

The protesters are demanding to be allowed to return to land now inside Israel, from which their families fled or were displaced during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of the state.

"We must strike Hamas a hard blow, this is the only way to bring the situation back to what it was before and to reduce the level of violence," Lieberman said in Hebrew, adding it must be a collective decision by the 12-member security Cabinet.

"Unfortunately neither the minister of defence nor the prime minister, nor the prime minister together with the minister of defence can make such a decision on their own," he said.

Lieberman said that deadly clashes on Friday, were a turning point.

The deal, brokered by the United Nations and backed by the United States and others, had seen thousands of litres of Qatari-bought fuel trucked into Gaza daily since last Tuesday.

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