LATEST: Israeli army kills 52 people and injures over 2,400 at Gaza border

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At least 43 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across the occupied territory to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, with tensions running high in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank.

Roji Kurd: While the anniversary of Palestinians being driven from their land is typically commemorated on 15 May, large demonstrations are taking place the day before to accommodate the imminent start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and protest at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy last December has deeply angered Palestinians, who regard it as official US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and open support for the Israeli government, to the detriment of any peace negotiations.

The status of Jerusalem has long been a point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Palestinian Authority (PA) wants East Jerusalem to be its capital as part of a two-state solution, but Israel wants the whole city as its capital.

The Nakba – or catastrophe – saw 750,000 Palestinians displaced from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Their descendants now number five million refugees, including more than two million in the occupied Palestinian territory alone, who have been calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and the right to return to their homeland.

According to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, thousands of police officers were deployed in Jerusalem on Monday in anticipation of the embassy inauguration ceremony, which started at 4pm local time (1pm GMT).

Nonetheless, Palestinian residents of the city demonstrated ahead of the ceremony. In Baten al-Hawa in the neighbourhood of Silwan – located just outside of the Old City – Palestinian protesters were met with force by the Israeli police.

Israeli forces also prevented buses of demonstrators from leaving the Old City to head to the US embassy – located in the building that formerly hosted the US’ consulate.

Deadly Day in Gaza

Demonstrators in Gaza, who have been gathering for the the past six weeks as part of the “Great March of Return”, once again returned across the buffer zone near the fence separating the blockaded coastal territory from Israel.

The Gaza Ministry of Health identified 15 of those killed as Anas Hamdan Qudeih, 12, Musab Youssef Abu Laila, 29, Ubeidah Salem Farhan, 30, Mohammed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26, Izz al-Din Moussa al-Samak, 14, Izz al-Din Nahid al-Uweiti, 23, and Bilal Ahmad Abu Daqqa, 26, Jihad Mufid al-Farra, 30, Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30, Ahmad Awadallah, 24, Mutasim Fawzi Abu Lowli 20, Mohammad Mahmoud Abdel Aal, Ahmad Fawzi al-Tatar, Ahmad Adek Moussa al-Shaar, 16, and Mohammed Abdel Rahman Alaa Meqdad.

The other dead Palestinians were not immediately identified.

The Israeli army meanwhile reported that it had killed at least three Palestinians in an airstrike near Rafah, claiming that they attempted to place an explosive device near the fence.

At least 1,703 people have been wounded by Israeli forces across the territory by 3pm local time, according to the ministry.

According to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, thousands of police officers were deployed in Jerusalem on Monday in anticipation of the embassy inauguration ceremony, which started at 4pm local time (1pm GMT).

Nonetheless, Palestinian residents of the city demonstrated ahead of the ceremony. In Baten al-Hawa in the neighbourhood of Silwan – located just outside of the Old City – Palestinian protesters were met with force by the Israeli police.

Israeli forces also prevented buses of demonstrators from leaving the Old City to head to the US embassy – located in the building that formerly hosted the US’ consulate.

Deadly Day in Gaza

Demonstrators in Gaza, who have been gathering for the the past six weeks as part of the “Great March of Return”, once again returned across the buffer zone near the fence separating the blockaded coastal territory from Israel.

The Gaza Ministry of Health identified 15 of those killed as Anas Hamdan Qudeih, 12, Musab Youssef Abu Laila, 29, Ubeidah Salem Farhan, 30, Mohammed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26, Izz al-Din Moussa al-Samak, 14, Izz al-Din Nahid al-Uweiti, 23, and Bilal Ahmad Abu Daqqa, 26, Jihad Mufid al-Farra, 30, Fadi Hassan Abu Salmi, 30, Ahmad Awadallah, 24, Mutasim Fawzi Abu Lowli 20, Mohammad Mahmoud Abdel Aal, Ahmad Fawzi al-Tatar, Ahmad Adek Moussa al-Shaar, 16, and Mohammed Abdel Rahman Alaa Meqdad.

The other dead Palestinians were not immediately identified.

The Israeli army meanwhile reported that it had killed at least three Palestinians in an airstrike near Rafah, claiming that they attempted to place an explosive device near the fence.

At least 1,703 people have been wounded by Israeli forces across the territory by 3pm local time, according to the ministry.

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