The Bush administration has rebuked Israel for increasing its firepower during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the occupied territories.

The number of protesters' deaths has grown in recent days as Israeli troops appear to have abandoned the more moderate tactics they adopted last summer. They are trying to quell a three-year Palestinian uprising against Israel's 23-year occupation."This week we raised again with the Israelis our concern over their use of lethal force and live fire in dealing with demonstrations by Palestinians," a State Department official said Saturday.