A tally by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says 254 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 34 others in the West Bank, and most had been "unarmed [at the time of their death] and posed no danger to anyone."
Over the course of 2018, Israeli forces killed a total of 290 Palestinians, most of whom had not taken part in any hostilities, an Israeli human rights group reported on Friday.
The dead included "55 minors," rights group B'Tselem said in a statement.
"Of these, 254 were killed in the Gaza Strip, 34 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and two inside Israel," it added.
B'Tselem went on to assert that of the 290 Palestinians killed last year, most had been "unarmed [at the time of their death] and posed no danger to anyone."
The group also accused Israel's security apparatus of implementing a "reckless open-fire policy" against Palestinians, which, it said, appeared to be sanctioned by Israel's government, military command and judicial system.
"As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to mount," the rights group said.
Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians in 2018, most were victims of a reckless open-fire policy https://t.co/ISLYPTGt1g— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) January 17, 2019
Meanwhile, Palestinians converged along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to take part in ongoing demonstrations against Israel's decades-long occupation, for the 43rd consecutive Friday.
At least 11 Palestinian protesters were wounded by Israeli army gunfire near the buffer zone, according to Gaza's health ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said the protesters – whose names were not given – were wounded by live ammunition.
Gaza's National Authority for Breaking the Siege has urged Palestinians to take part in the rallies, holding Friday's demonstration under the banner, "Unity is the key to victory."
Hazem Qasim, a spokesman for Hamas – which has been governing Gaza since 2007 – said the ongoing protests "confirm our people's commitment to the path of struggle until our objectives are met."
Right to return demonstrations
Demonstrators demand the right of thousands of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel's 12-year blockade of the Gaza enclave, which has damaged the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Since the rallies began in March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians have been killed – and thousands more wounded – by Israeli troops deployed near the fence.
Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone have responded to the demonstrations with deadly force, frequently using teargas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition against unarmed protesters.