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"A Source of Positivity All the Time": Remembering Palestinian Medic Razan al-Najjar, Killed by IDF

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Witnesses say Israeli soldiers shot dead 21-year-old Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar as she ran toward the border fence to provide medical aid to a wounded protester. Since nonviolent protests began at the end of March, Israeli soldiers have killed at least 119 people, including 14 children. More than 13,000 have been wounded. "It was clear to everybody that she was a paramedic, that that was murder. I mean, that was a crime committed before cameras," said Dr. Medhat Abbas, director of Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip.

We also speak with Najjar's cousin, Dalia al-Najjar, who says the response of the international community to the Gaza crisis has been "really disappointing," and notes the U.S. vetoed a draft U.N. resolution urging the protection of Palestinians on Friday, the same day Najjar was killed. "It's a shameful side that the United States decided to take."

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AMY GOODMAN: We begin today in Gaza, where thousands attended a funeral Saturday for 21-year-old Palestinian volunteer medic Razan al-Najjar. Witnesses say she was shot dead Friday by Israeli soldiers as she ran toward the border fence to provide medical aid to a wounded protester.

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This is a description of the attack from James Heenan, head of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: quote, "Reports indicate that Razan was assisting injured demonstrators and wearing her first responder clothing, clearly distinguishing her as a healthcare worker even from a distance. Reports suggest that she was shot about 100 meters from the fence. Under international human rights law, which applies in this context along with international humanitarian law, lethal force may only be used as a last resort and when there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury. It is very difficult to see how Razan posed such a threat to heavily-armed, well-protected Israeli forces in defensive positions on the other side of the fence," Heenan said.

Najjar was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries. Her mother held her daughter's blood-stained medical vest as she spoke with reporters and demanded justice.

SABREEN AL-NAJJAR: [translated] The whole world saw what happened to my daughter, and I call for international protection. Where is this international protection? Where are the human rights? How was my daughter a threat? What was her weapon? This is her weapon, this medical equipment. This is my daughter's weapon. This is what she was resisting with. On what basis did the soldier kill her? She has been targeted since the first day of protest. So many times she has survived death. She would come through and tell me what she went through. May God account every person who is silent about this.

AMY GOODMAN: In total, the Israeli military has killed at least 119 Palestinians, wounded more than 13,000 more, as part of the brutal crackdown against the Palestinians' ongoing nonviolent Great March of Return protest demanding an end to the Israeli occupation. The Israeli military says its troops worked, quote, "in accordance with standard operating procedures," unquote, but said Saturday it would investigate her death.

A volunteer ambulance worker told the Associated Press he and Najjar were planning to announce their engagement at the end of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Friday, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel's, quote, "excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force," unquote, against Palestinians. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said the resolution was "one-sided."

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On Sunday, Israeli air forces fired at Hamas sites in Gaza, after they said militants fired rockets at Israel. Also Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted he had reduced the tax funds shared with Palestinians in order to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza Strip who say their property was damaged by fires caused by kites rigged with incendiary devices or attached to burning rags.

Well, in a minute, we'll go to Gaza. But first we want to turn to Razan al-Najjar in her own words. This is an excerpt from her interview with The New York Times, when she said Gaza needed more female medics like herself.

RAZAN AL-NAJJAR: [translated] Being a medic is not only a job for a man. It's for women, too. Sometimes the injured are women. Who will treat them? Yes, a man can. But we have a big role here. We have one goal: to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: Without weapons, we can do anything. ...

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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Maybe, if Hamas had not called for thousands to attack the border, and if they had not encouraged them to throw stones, molotov cocktails and to use children as shields, things might have been different.

Here is A Former AP Correspondent Explains How and Why His Colleagues Get Israel So Wrong -- Tablet Magazine One tiny part..

"The fact is most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don't speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don't need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.

"It is not coincidence that the few journalists who have documented Hamas fighters and rocket launches in civilian areas this summer were generally not, as you might expect, from the large news organizations with big and permanent Gaza operations. They were mostly scrappy, peripheral, and newly arrived players--a Finn, an Indiancrew, a few others. These poor souls didn't get the memo."

"The Israel story is framed to seem as if it has nothing to do with events nearby because the "Israel" of international journalism does not exist in the same geo-political universe as Iraq, Syria, or Egypt. The Israel story is not a story about current events. It is about something else."

Israel is not an idea, a symbol of good or evil, or a litmus test for liberal opinion at dinner parties. It is a small country in a scary part of the world that is getting scarier. It should be reported as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion. Israel is not one of the most important stories in the world, or even in the Middle East; whatever the outcome in this region in the next decade, it will have as much to do with Israel as World War II had to do with Spain. Israel is a speck on the map--a sideshow that happens to carry an unusual emotional charge.

"Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality. They may convince themselves that all of this is the Jews' problem, and indeed the Jews' fault. But journalists engage in these fantasies at the cost of their credibility and that of their profession. And, as Orwell would tell us, the world entertains fantasies at its peril."

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 4:27:23 PM

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Reply to Susan Lee Schwartz:   New Content

How does all this above reflect on killing of a medic that ran to help a wounded protester?

I believe that she was clearly identifiable as medic.

On top any sniper guy could have seen that it is a woman running with no weapon in hand.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 9, 2018 at 3:30:07 PM

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and there is this: Falling for Hamas's Split-Screen Fallacy

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 4:29:29 PM

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Reply to Susan Lee Schwartz:   New Content

In your link 'a simple story' by Hamas is mentioned.

How about this simple story: People expelled by Israelis live in inhumane conditions under Israeli blockade.

And don't confound Jews with Israelis.

"Israel is a small country in a scary part of world".

It became scary with establishment of Israel and throwing out of innocent people.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 9, 2018 at 3:34:09 PM

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