Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Israeli army shoot and kills 21-year-old nurse in Gaza


By Annelies Verbeek - June 04, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)]

Israeli snipers shot and killed medical volunteer Razan Al Najjar near the Gaza fence on Friday June 1. 

At the time, she was in her role as a nurse, providing first aid to the injured in the Great March of Return, a series of protests organised along the Gaza fence to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, as well as demand the Palestinian right of return to territories taken in 1948.
 
Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Gaza authorities, who stated that Najjar had had her hands raised while approaching the border fence to evacuate a casualty, moments before she was shot. Gaza based human rights group Al Mezan stated that she was shot in the back.
 
The Director of Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS), Dr Mustafa Barghouti, said in a statement that Najjar “was shot in the chest, the bullet ripping through the white vest with red emblem and PMRS logo that marked her as medical personnel.”
 
Barghouti reiterated “the shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions, as is shooting at children, journalists and unarmed civilians.”
 
Najjar was interviewed by Al Jazeera April 20. She spoke of working 12 hour shifts to provide first aid to injured protesters since the march started.
 
“It’s my duty and responsibility to be there and aid those injured,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Israeli army is trying to shoot as many Palestinians as possible, I’d be ashamed if I was not there for my people.”
 
The New York Times had interviewed Najjar last month. The American newspaper reported that Najjar was one of the first female medics to treat the wounded from the beginning of the Great March of Return, and now, the 119th Palestinian to be killed since the start of the protests March 30.
 
In the interview, Najjar emphasised her role as a woman treating the injured is very important. She described her participation to be empowering.
 
"Women are often judged. But society has to accept us. If they don't want to accept us by choice, they will be forced to accept us. Because we have more strength than any man,” Najjar told the New York Times.
 
Barghouti affirmed in another statement that the targeting of medics would not deter PMRS, health workers and volunteers from providing services to their people, or “performing their humanitarian duty as they are accustomed to.”
 
Hundreds of Palestinian Israelis rallied in the streets of Haifa the night of June 1st - the day Najjar was killed. A hashtag “I am angry with Gaza” trended. Activists on Twitter expressed the importance of Palestinian unity in the face of the assault on protesters in Gaza.
 
Ammar Abu Qandil wrote on Twitter that the continued protests in Haifa are significant because of three reasons. According to him, the protests affirm the unity of the struggle, and that the suppression of the protests is not discouraging young men and women. “Rather it increases their determination and strength.”
 
Abu Qandil finished his tweet by writing the protest mattered because; “as long as Gaza is rising up, we cannot continue our lives as usual.”
 
Thousands of mourners gathered in a funeral procession that departed from Najjar’s hometown Khuza’a on Saturday June 2. She was laid to rest in a cemetery in Khan Younis.
 
Lead image source: Twitter

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