GAZA VIOLENCE – In the deadliest day of violence in Gaza since the 2014 war, Palestinian officials say Israeli troops have killed 55 people and wounded 2,700.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said his military was acting in self-defence against Gaza’s Islamist rulers, Hamas, who he said wanted to destroy Israel.
The Palestinian Authority’s leader condemned a “massacre”. The UN spoke of “outrageous human rights violations”.
The violence came as the US opened a controversial embassy in Jerusalem.
The move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv has incensed Palestinians, who claim eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
They see the US move as backing Israeli control over the whole of the city, which Israel regards as its indivisible capital.
What happened at the Gaza border?
Palestinians were demonstrating on Monday as they have been for six weeks as part of a protest, orchestrated by Hamas, called the “Great March of Return”.
However, Monday’s protests – and more planned for Tuesday – are the culmination, as they mark the anniversary of Israel’s creation in 1948 and what Palestinians term the Nakba or Catastrophe, referring to the hundreds of thousands of their people who subsequently fled their homes or were displaced in the war that followed.
Monday also coincided with the dedication ceremony for the US embassy.
Israel said some 40,000 Palestinians had taken part in “violent riots” at 13 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence.
Palestinians hurled stones and incendiary devices, while the Israeli military used tear gas and live fire from snipers.
Mr Netanyahu defended his military, saying: “Every country has an obligation to defend its borders.
“The Hamas terrorist organisation declares its intention to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal. We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and our citizens.” Read More: BBC