Update:

According to the Associated Press, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians—including three teenagers—during anti-occupation protests on Saturday. Over 300 Palestinians were reportedly injured.

Earlier:

Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered near the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the weekly “Great March of Return” demonstrations and demand an end to Israel’s brutal occupation.

According to Gaza health officials, Israeli forces have so far killed two demonstrators—including a 17-year-old boy named Adham Amaara—and injured dozens more with live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

“Thirty-three Palestinians have been evacuated to hospitals in the Strip, including ten that were wounded by live Israeli fire at the border,” Haaretzreported. “Dozens were treated in field clinics erected in tents near the border.”

As Yara Hawari wrote for Middle East Eye, “Protests at the Israeli fence enclosing the territory began on 30 March 2018 to commemorate Land Day, which marks an incident in 1976 when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were protesting the expropriation of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land.”

Last year’s protest led to weekly demonstrations each Friday, during which Palestinians have marched to the border fence to demand dignity and an end to occupation.

The mostly peaceful protests have been met with deadly force by the Israeli military, which has killed more than 200 Palestinian demonstrators and injured thousands more over the past year.

In a report published last month, the United Nations said Israel’s use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators may amount to “war crimes or crimes against humanity.”

“One year on, the Great March of Return protests have become a manifestation of ultimate despair,” wrote Hawari. “The effects of the siege and occupation have left more than half of Palestinians in Gaza living in abject poverty, many with serious mental and physical health conditions.”

“While despair in Gaza continues, so too does the dream of returning home,” she concluded. “This past year, however, has shown us that the costs will be high—particularly if Israel continues to violate Palestinian rights without consequences.”

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