Gaza protests: Thousands mark 'Great Return' anniversary

Tens of thousands of Gaza protesters join march to mark one year of weekly protests

"We are following with concern the successive and serious developments in the Palestinian cause as a result of Israel's continued settlement construction on the occupied land of Palestine, the existing expansion, demolition of houses, confiscation of lands, and Judaization of the occupied city of Jerusalem, in addition to the persistence of serious violations of global law and disregard of the resolutions of worldwide legitimacy", he said.

The inquiry found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers had shot at children, medics and journalists, even though they were clearly recognisable as such.

The victims were Tamer Hashim Abu al-Khair, 17, who was killed by Israeli bullets in the chest east of Khan Yunis, and Adham Nidal Amara, 17, was also killed Saturday morning before the start of the demonstrations. The violence comes just over a week before Israeli national elections.

The ministry said Mohammed Saad died after being hit in the head with shrapnel caused by Israeli forces fire east of Gaza City.

Israel has reopened its commercial crossing with Gaza, a day after a Palestinian protest along the volatile frontier. One of the most powerful was in May 2011, when hundreds of Syrian Palestinian refugees marched towards the fence dividing Syria from the Israeli-occupied town of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights.

Egypt and the United Nations have been negotiating to try to prevent a further escalation after a tense week in which Palestinian militants fired rockets at Israel and Israel's air force struck dozens of sites in Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered on the Gaza Strip-Israel buffer zone on Saturday to take part in mass rallies marking the first anniversary of the Great March of Return anti-occupation protests.

The border protests have turned into a standoff between Gazans hurling rocks and explosives and Israeli troops across the border.

Tensions have mounted along the Israel-Gaza border this week ahead of the commemoration of the Great March of Return border protests, which began March 30 a year ago.

Since March 30 previous year, Palestinians in the Hamas-run Strip have been demanding the right to return to lands from which their families were violently expelled during the founding of Israel in 1948.

Hamas said on Sunday that it is waiting to hear from Egyptian mediators what Israel's response is to the proposed ceasefire understandings between the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Five rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel overnight, leading Israeli tanks to fire on Hamas military posts.

But in public remarks on Thursday, he said Israel would only undertake a broad military campaign in Gaza after exhausting all other options.

Yet after a year of weekly protests during which Israel has exacted a horrifying toll on unarmed civilians, Palestinians in Gaza demonstrated once again on Saturday their determination not to allow the world to forget them and leave them to their fate at Israel's hands.

"Speaking on the group's Al-Aqsa TV station, Hamas" top leader in Gaza, Yehya Sinwar, praised the protesters.

The delegation is now in Gaza as part of a shuttle diplomacy to reach a truce deal between Gaza-based resistance factions and Israel.

The crossing had been closed on Monday after a rocket that wounded seven Israelis north of Tel Aviv touched off a two-day surge in cross-border violence.

"One of the reasons for the successful conclusion of Land Day events was the right deployment in terms of the number of forces, the extent of the event, the use of force and the deterrence", said IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis.

Israeli forces used tear gas and live ammunition to stop protesters from approaching the fence. The operation was also launched in retaliation to rocket fire. The Israeli forces responded with tear gas and live fire.

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