At least 41 Palestinians were killed on Monday in Gaza and more than 1,900 others wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition, teargas and firebombs at protesters assembled along several points near the fence with Israel.
The demonstrations are part of a weeks-long protest calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 90 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded close to 10,500 people.
The protest comes ahead of the annual commemorations of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, in a violent campaign that led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.
About 70 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population of two million are descendants of refugees.
Demonstrations were also planned to coincide with the moving of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in line with the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, furthering stoking tensions and angering Palestinians.
Since Monday morning, Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been attempting to cross the highly fortified fence separating the enclave from Israel, as part of the Great March of Return movement.
Of the 41 killed on Monday, the ministry of health said at least six were below the age of 18, including one female. And, of the 1960 wounded, at least 200 were below the age of 18, 78 were women and 11 were journalists.
Some 918 people were wounded by Israeli live ammunition, while 193 were wounded by tear gas attacks, the ministry said.
“The number of people showing up to participate is unprecedented in comparison to the past seven weeks of protest,” local journalist Maram Humaid told Al Jazeera.
Rallies also kicked off in the occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron, as a response to the US embassy move. In Ramallah, Palestinians are expected to protest from the city centre to the Qalandia military checkpoint, the main northern crossing separating Ramallah from Jerusalem.