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Israel Braces for More Palestinian Protests

With the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the background, Israeli troops patrol along the border between Israel and Syria the Golan Heights, May 20, 2011

Israel has boosted security in the Golan Heights in anticipation of possible protests by Palestinians.

News reports say Israeli forces are preventing non-residents from entering the area.

Israeli troops also fired warning shots Friday to prevent Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon from approaching a border fence and entering Israel.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered last Sunday along the Golan, and in Gaza and the West Bank to protest the 63rd anniversary of Israel's founding.

Israeli gunfire killed at least 13 people as the demonstrators tried to force their way across Israel's northern border with Lebanon and along the dividing line between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Syria.

The Golan has been generally quiet since Israel captured the area from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

On Monday, the United States accused Syria of inciting the Palestinian unrest along the Golan Heights to divert attention from its violent crackdown on protests. The State Department called it a "cynical" ploy by the beleaguered Damascus government.

The Golan incident followed a published warning last week by a Syrian businessman with close ties to the Damascus leadership, Rami Makhlouf, that instability for Syria would mean instability for Israel too.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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