Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to break up small groups of Palestinian stone-throwers on Friday as annual Land Day rallies turned violent around Jerusalem.

Medics in the Gaza Strip said the Israeli army also used live fire to prevent protesters from approaching frontier barriers in the small coastal territory, wounding nine people, including one seriously.

Palestinian activists called for a Global March to Jerusalem to mark the day when Israeli Arabs protest against land confiscation, and although there were many rallies, Israeli police said crowd numbers were relatively small.

We are dealing with a number of disturbances, but in general the situation around the country has been relatively quiet, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israeli forces were put on high alert on the frontiers with Lebanon and Syria, but there were no reports of anyone nearing the border fences, unlike last year when several demonstrators were killed in separate protests.

However, violence flared at checkpoints in the occupied West Bank to the north and south of Jerusalem. Witnesses also reported disturbances at gates leading into the Old City, with police limiting access to the Muslims' revered al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jerusalem is a focal point of conflict, as Palestinians want the city's eastern sector, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, as capital of a future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem as part of its capital and insists the city remain united.

We are determined to march together toward Jerusalem, and hopefully we will break through and reach it, said a masked youth, calling himself Rimawi, as he faced off against soldiers in the West Bank city Ramallah, a short distance from Jerusalem.

Flag-waving crowds neared the Qalandiya crossing out of Ramallah, some of them hurling stones at the security forces, but were forced back when border police fired tear gas and sprayed them with foul smelling liquid from a water cannon.

There were also confrontations in Bethlehem, where Palestinians threw petrol bombs at an Israeli watchtower. One man was critically wounded when he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, activists said.

BORDER FEARS

Land Day commemorates the killing of six Arabs in 1976 during protests against the confiscation of their land in Israel's Galilee region. Arabs make up around 20 percent of Israel's total population and often complain of discrimination.

Previous remembrances have mostly passed quietly, but Israel decided to reinforce its defences this year following deadly clashes along the Lebanese and Syrian borders in May and June that appeared to catch the military off guard.

Palestinian organisers called for peaceful rallies on Friday against the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state and said solidarity protests were planned in some 80 nations.

When crowds from 80 countries move towards Jerusalem, they send a strong message to the Israeli occupation that no one can accept what they are doing in Jerusalem, said Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza leader of the Islamic group Hamas.

Israel is wary of growing unrest in the Palestinian Territories, with peace talks stalled for months and Palestinian leaders refusing to return to the negotiating table until Israel halts all Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Leading Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti, serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli jail for allegedly orchestrating suicide attacks, called on Monday for a new wave of civil resistance in the decades-long quest for statehood.

(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Noah Browning in Ramallah, Eli Berizon in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alistair Lyon)