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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/4/18

"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."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

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.

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."

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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