LATEST: Four killed as Israel cracks down on Gaza's 'March of a Million'
Palestinians are expected to show up en masse on Friday for the "March of a Million for Jerusalem", marking both International Jerusalem Day and the 51st anniversary of the 1967 Middle East war.
Israeli forces have been on high alert since Thursday, with snipers and tanks stationed along the fence, raising fears that the rallies could be violently repressed once again.
We'll be keeping you updated here throughout the day.
Warning: Some of the images shared on this live blog depict sensitive and graphic scenes.
The Gaza ministry of health gave an updated casualty toll at 7pm local time (4pm GMT), reporting 618 wounded Palestinians in addition to three dead.
The three dead were identified as:
- Youssef al Fasih, 29
- Ziad Jadallah al-Barim, age unknown
- Imad Nabil Abu Darabi, 26
- Haitham Mohammed al-Jamal, 15
Among the wounded are 48 minors, two medics, and five journalists. At least 117 demonstrators were injured after being hit with live bullets, the ministry added.
If you are a bit overwhelmed by the news coming out of Gaza for the past few months, this Middle East Eye explainer of the history, political geography, living conditions under the blockade, and the impact of several wars on the small Palestinian territory
Demonstrators spoke to MEE today about their motivations for coming out to protest despite the dangers after 10 long weeks.
“We want our right of return, we want our right to our country, we want the right to Jerusalem,” a young protester, his face wrapped in a kuffiyeh, summarised. “All of us here are united as one, and we will return to our country.”
“Jerusalem is the Palestinian capital, not the Israeli or American one,” he added, rebuking the move of the US embassy to Israel to Jerusalem last month, on the bloodiest day of the Great March of Return.
Many expressed frustration at the international community's perceived indifference to their plight in the coastal enclave, which has been under a stringent Israeli-led and Egypt-enforced blockade since 2007.
"We don’t have electricity or water or salaries," a female demonstrator said. "The world is in a deep sleep while the people of Gaza are dying."
Protester Saleh Nasser Abu Ras directed his ire squarely at Arab nations, accusing them of standing by idly while offering only words of condemnation.
“I want to send a message to the Arab world: Enough is enough. People and children are dying because we are defending our land,” he exclaimed. “We have small children here who are braver than the Arab governments.”
The Gaza health ministry has just reported the death of Haitham Mohammed al-Jamal, 15, east of Khan Younis - raising Friday's death toll to three.
The ministry has also reported at least 525 injuries today, including 26 minors and 92 wounded by live fire.
Shortly after announcing the first fatality of Friday's demonstrations, the Gaza health ministry identified a second slain Palestinian as Imad Nabil Abu Darabi, 26, killed east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip.
The Gaza health ministry has just reported that a Palestinian, identified as Ziad Jadallah al-Barim, was killed east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
He is the first person to have died during Friday's protests, although at least 525 Palestinians have been wounded, the ministry added.