Israel police have deployed thousands of police officers in Jerusalem for the U.S. embassy relocation ceremony.
According to health officials, at least 52 Palestinians have been killed along the Gaza Strip during demonstrations against the beginning of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
It was the highest Palestinian death toll in a single day since a series of protests dubbed the “Great March of Return” began at the border with Israel on March 30, and since the 2014 Gaza war.
The health officials said over 2,000 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.
Tens of thousands streamed to the coastal enclave’s land border Monday, some approaching the Israeli fence. Clouds of black smoke from tyres set alight by demonstrators rose in the air. The latest casualties raised the Palestinian death toll to 55 since the protests began on March 30.
Reacting to the brutal crackdown on on Gaza protesters, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said via Twitter that Israeli live fire must stop immediately and the international community must bring those responsible to justice.
“Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,” Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the U.N. human rights Twitter account. “The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims – #Zeid.”
Meanwhile protests in the West Bank were met with tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands of police officers were deployed throughout the city of Jerusalem for the U.S. embassy relocation ceremony.
Later on Monday as Israeli troops were shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinians, Ivanka Trump along with a high level delegation from Washington inaugurated the new embassy in Jerusalem amid celebrations and praise by Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Reuters reports that the protests have heightened on the day which is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding which prompted Palestine’s Nakba – which resulted in some 700,000 people force fleeing their homes in 1948.
“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever,” a teacher based in Gaza told the agency. “Many may get martyred today, so many, but the world will hear our message. Occupation must end,” he said.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reiterated that U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the embassy was “blatant violations of international law.”
“What a moving day for the people of Israel and the State of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, regarding the embassy’s relocation.
Palestinians have long viewed East Jerusalem as the true capital of a future Palestinian State.
The protests are scheduled to culminate on Tuesday when Palestinians mark Nakba Day.