Has Israel acted appropriately at the Gaza border?

Palestinians shout during clashes with Israeli troops during a tent city protest along the Israel border with Gaza demanding the right to return to their homeland the southern Gaza Strip

Israel says some of those protesting have tried to damage the border fence or plant explosives along it. Others have hurled improvised explosives and firebombs at soldiers, while others have flown kites with burning rags attached to set Israeli fields on fire.

Moments after being sworn in as Secretary of State on Thursday, Pompeo immediately left for a meeting in Brussels, followed by a visit to allies in the Middle East.

IDF soldiers deploy on the Israeli side of the border with the northern Gaza Strip.

In footage broadcast Friday by Gaza's Al-Aqsa TV, controlled by the enclave's Hamas terrorist organization rulers, the masked leader of the group said, "Today, we cut the Zionist enemy's main barbed wire fence on the Gaza border, east of the Jabaliya refugee camp [in the northern part of Strip]".

The 23rd meeting of the Palestinian National Council convened on Monday evening in the city of Ramallah in the center of the occupied West Bank, in the first regular meeting of the council in 22 years.

Pompeo also urged the Palestinians to return to being politically engaged with Israel. The protests have turned violent and 39 Palestinians have been killed during the unrest, which began March 30.

"We are open to a two-party solution as a likely outcome", he said. It says the system is crucial to shield against what it says are ongoing attempts by Palestinian militants to carry out attacks.

"Either they give us everything or they take everything", Abbas said of Hamas.

Israel has been accused by the United Nations, European Union and rights groups of using excessive force against unarmed protesters.

Asked about the situation, Pompeo demurred, referring to "activities in Gaza over the past days and weeks".

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - might eventually serve as capital of an independent Palestinian state. The White House is preparing a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

But Mr Pompeo, who met Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his military headquarters on Sunday, refused to criticise the use of deadly force, saying: "We do believe the Israelis have a right to defend themselves and we're fully supportive of that". And, a peace plan devised by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his special envoy for global negotiations Jason Greenblatt appears to be on hold.

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