At least 58 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 people wounded in protests at the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to Palestinian officials, on the same day the US fulfiled its controversial promise to move its embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem.
Thousands of demonstrators set fire to tyres on Monday, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air to deter Israeli snipers. The Israeli military said the protests were being used as cover for attacks on soldiers.
It marked the deadliest single day of protests in a weeks-long campaign from Hamas in the run up to the US embassy move and the Nakba, or ‘Catastrophe’, on Tuesday - celebrated in Israel as the country’s 70th birthday.
The order given to Israeli soldiers was to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel at any price, including direct live fire. Israel has also warned Hamas that any mass breakthrough will result in airstrikes on the group’s infrastructure inside the Strip - with a number of targets hit by Israeli forces by the afternoon.
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Hamas, the militant group that rules the Strip, had urged supporters to break through the 11-year-old Israel blockade, which has left Gaza "uninhabitable".
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the actions of the Israeli forces as a "genocide" and Israel as a "terrorist state".
"No matter from what side, whether from the United States or Israel, I curse this humanitarian plight, this genocide," he said.
Kuwait has requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council amid international outcry over the clashes.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's top aides and supporters on Monday celebrated the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem as a campaign promised fulfilled.
Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the US delegation with a single message: Only Trump had the courage to act on what America has wanted for a long time.
“While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Mr Kushner said in his speech.
In a recorded message played at the ceremony, Mr Trump said the embassy move was a "long time coming" but he remained committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Our greatest hope is for peace,” said Trump, whose recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocation of the embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv, has outraged Palestinians and drawn international concern.
“The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” Mr Trump said. “The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace.”
The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.