Israeli forces have fired on groups of protesters at borders with the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon, as Palestinians mark the Nakba or Catastrophe, their term for the founding of the Israeli state in 1948.
Husam Zomlot, deputy commissioner of the Fatah International Affairs Commission, said he was "proud" of the marchers, who were "taking matters into their own hands" after what they perceived as the failure of middle east peace talks.
"This is not a security matter. Definitely the security forces would always fail to deal with such a purely political, humanitarian, legal matter."
"These people are marching to their homes, they have the deeds of their homes. It's their private property."
But Israeli government's spokesman Mark Regev said that tens of thousands of people on the border had been trying to "break into Israel".
"These are tense parts of the globe," he told John Humphrys. "You can't have a situation where hundreds or thousands of people are trying to violently break through the border."
"Our forces behaved with great restraint."
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