<pIsraeli forces shot dead six Palestinians Friday, four of them in a single incident, in one of the deadliest days in months of mass protests along the security fence separating Gaza and Israel<pMore than 150 Palestinians participating in or present at the marches have been killed since they began. In May, about 60 protesters were killed in a single day, making it one of the deadliest since a 2014 war between the two sides.
<pThe blockade has restricted Hamas' ability to govern and plagued most of Gaza's 2 million residents. Electricity is supplied for roughly four hours a day, unemployment stands at more than 50 percent and tap water is unpotable.
<pRepeated attempts to reconcile Hamas and the West Bank-based administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have all but faltered, increasing the desperation that has in large part fueled the demonstrations.
<pThis week, the United Nations began supervising deliveries of Qatari-donated diesel fuel meant to restart Gaza's only power plant to increase electricity supplies and mitigate the crisis. The station has yet to operate.
<pHamas seeks a cease-fire with Israel securing an easing of the blockade but accuses its rivals in the West Bank of thwarting the effort. In recent weeks, it has stepped up its campaign, holding nighttime protests and adding new locations such as along the beach. Hamas says the escalation of protests is a response to the unresolved cease-fire talks.