Today’s news from Gaza was especially disturbing. Israeli snipers shot 40 protesters and killed one of them: Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer medic. She was wearing a white coat when she was shot, news accounts say, and one report says she was attempting to tend a wounded protester.
Update: Her funeral was Saturday June 2, and thousands attended.
According to health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, Najjar was a volunteer with the ministry, wearing the white uniform of a medic when she was shot in the chest.
CNN has the story. Iyad Abuheweila of the New York Times reported the killing by twitter:
Razan Al Najjar 21, a volunteer paramedic, was shot dead by IDF in eastern Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman.
Middle East Eye reports: al-Najjar “has been photographed on numerous occasions helping Palestinians injured by Israeli fire during protests.”
Palestine Live has tweeted this photo of al Najjar that it says was taken shortly before she was killed:
Asaf Ronel of Haaretz:
A paramedic who was with Razan al-Najjar told journalists in
#Gaza that the 21-year-old nurse tried to reach a protester wounded near the #GazaFence. “I told her it is dangerous but she said she’s not afraid to die & wants to help the wounded”
Ronel says al-Najjar was not likely targeted when she was killed:
It’s unlikely that a sniper deliberately killed Razan al-Najjar. Her death is an expected result of repeated use of live fire by Israeli soldiers to prevent medical care in
#Gaza (in addition to illegal & immoral use of snipers against unarmed protesters)
The New York Times has published a superb video interview of al-Najjar from a month ago, highlighting her strength and commitment. She works not for money but for God, she says. The piece is by Yousur Al-Hlou, Iyad Abuheweila and Neil Collier. The Times also published this article on the killing.
(James North had challenged the New York Times: “An
#NYTimes reporter is in #Gaza, and and he tweeted out that #Israel‘s snipers murdered a 21-year-old nurse, #RazanAlNajjar. Will his bosses in New York publish this in their newspaper? (If a rocket from Gaza killed an #Israeli nurse, we would read all about it.)”)
B’Tselem yesterday issued a report on the open-fire policy at the Gaza fence that describes the risks that medical personnel experience, even though they are clearly marked. From researcher Khaled al-Azayzeh, on a May 2 incident:
I advanced toward the spot with the first-aid team. The soldiers fired live rounds near us to warn us not to approach. One of the women on the emergency team put up her hands to set the soldiers minds at ease and let them know we were a medical crew, and we kept advancing, but the shooting continued near us and over our heads. The soldiers also fired teargas canisters behind us. Despite this, we managed to get to the two guys. I found that the guy who was injured is a relative of mine, Muhammad Musbah. He had been hit by a live bullet in the right leg and was lying on his back. His leg was completely torn up below the knee and he was bleeding badly. I bandaged the wound with medical gauze and Wasim Musbah, who was with us, brought the stick the Palestinian flag had been tied to, broke it in two and tied it to the injured leg as a splint for support. The entire time we were caring for him, the soldiers kept firing above us. A few young guys moved forward till they reached us, and together we lifted Muhammad and got him away from the barbed wire fence and on to a tuk-tuk, because there was no ambulance there.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society issued a statement calling for an international investigation of Najjar’s killing and the shooting of three other medics yesterday.
We demand an immediate international response to Israeli humanitarian law violations in Gaza. We call on our international friends and partners to publicly condemn Razan’s killing and to demand that Israel be held accountable for its crimes under international law.
We grieve with her family and our colleagues in Gaza during this tragic time. We ask our partners who are in the country to please join us tomorrow at 12pm at the Manara circle in Ramallah to honor Razan’s memory and demand an end to the bloody oppression of Gaza.