At least 41 Palestinians have been reported killed by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border ahead of the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Gaza's Health Ministry said that at least 772 Palestinians were also wounded by Israeli fire on May 14.
The Islamist movement Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, has led mass protests over the past six weeks aimed at breaking a decade-old Israeli blockade of the territory. A total of 83 people are reported to have been killed since the start of the protests.
A majority of the territory's 2 million inhabitants are descendants of refugees, and the protests have been dubbed the “Great March of Return” to homes in what is now the state of Israel.
The mass protests were also directed at the transfer of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14.
Top U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, are attending the event.
In a recorded message at the ceremony, President Trump said he remained “fully committed” to pursuing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Our greatest hope is for peace,” he said.
Trump announced earlier this year that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem, causing joy in Israel and creating an outcry from Palestinians, U.S. allies, and many other countries worldwide.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for “having the courage” to keep his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which he called the “eternal, undivided capital of Israel.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit blasted as “shameful” the countries that are celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in the divided city.
Iran's foreign minister called the move “a day of great shame.”
Trump announced earlier this year that the United States was recognizing divided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of U.S. policy.
The decision has caused joy in Israel and created an outcry from Palestinians, U.S. allies, and many other countries worldwide.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared the entire city as its capital, a move not recognized by the international community. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)