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People protest the killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, on April 11, 2018, in Istanbul. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images

Palestinian protests continued for the third consecutive Friday along the Israel–Gaza border, resulting in another 163 Palestinians injured.

The demonstrations began as a grass-roots movement around the March of the Return. But Hamas, seeking to distract from its own mismanagement, has since assumed a key organizational role, taking advantage of Palestinian suffering and Israeli militarism to renew attention on the conflict. For its part, Israel is determined to prevent massive breaches of the border fence, and its use of live fire has left 33 Palestinian dead and over 1,300 injured since the campaign began.

The bottom line: This flare-up has become the bloodiest since the 2014 war. With no diplomatic recourse in sight, it's likely to get even worse.

The campaign has been orchestrated to coincide with a number of meaningful anniversaries, including Israel Independence Day, Nakba day and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May. As protests continue, Palestinian funerals will generate new waves of justified anger, feeding Hamas' campaign for popular mobilization — a more effective tactic than their use of high-trajectory weapons or tunneling.

Israel has threatened strikes against Hamas positions in Gaza if the demonstrations continue. Confrontations have not yet spread in any serious way to the West Bank or Jerusalem — which would certainly presage a more serious crisis — but the possibility remains.

The big picture: The chances of resolving the political issues underlying the conflict are slim to none. Most likely Israelis and Palestinians will continue to operate in a space between on-and-off confrontation and largely futile efforts to promote a two-state solution, which remains at once too important to abandon and too difficult to implement.

Aaron David Miller is vice president for new initiatives and director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

2 hours ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

3 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.