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Updated: Army Kills A Medic, Injures 100 Palestinians, Including 40 With Live Fire, In Gaza

World  (tags: Gaza, June 2, 2018, updated, volunteer medic - Razan Ashraf Najjar, 22, death toll, IDF, Israeli military, snipers, Non-violent demonstration, resistance, US embassy move, provocation, occupation, blockade, justice!, impunity, U.S., shame!, atrocities media )

- 385 days ago -
Razan Ashraf Najjar,22, was killed when an Israeli sniper shot her in the back, and the bullet went through her heart.


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fly bird (26)
Friday June 1, 2018, 8:12 pm
The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a young Palestinian woman, a volunteer medic identified as Razan Ashraf Najjar, 22, and injured 100 Palestinians, including 40 with live fire.

The Health Ministry said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against Palestinian protesters, participating in the Great Return March, and marching for breaking the ongoing deadly Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, stated that the Razan was killed by live Israeli army fire after the soldiers targeted five medics providing treatment to wounded Palestinians in the “Return Camp,” east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

He added that the soldiers also injured more than 100 Palestinians, including 40 with live fire, while the rest suffered various cuts and bruises, in addition to the effects of teargas inhalation.

Razan, who was wearing a clearly-marked medic vest, was at least 100 meters away from the eastern border fence when she was shot while providing aid to wounded Palestinians and attempting to evacuate them to the field clinic.

Prior to her injury, Razan, managed to render aid to many wounded Palestinians, including an elderly man who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

Razan was killed when an Israeli sniper shot her in the back, and the bullet went through her heart.

Dr. Rasha Abdul-Rahman Qdeih said she was with Razan when they were trying to help wounded Palestinians, but five army jeeps came close to the fence, before two soldiers left one of the vehicles and pointed their sniper scopes at them.

“I shouted at my colleagues to take cover and remain alert,” she said, “The soldiers fired several rounds, and some minutes later, we managed to evacuate the wounded, before the soldiers started firing gas bombs.”

“But then, the soldiers fired several exploding rounds at us; one of them struck Razan and killed her, and another bullet struck a medic, identified as Rami Abu Jazar, in his thigh, in addition to shrapnel in his left thigh, arm and leg, while another medic, Mahmoud Abdul-‘Aati, was injured by shrapnel,” Dr. Rasha added.

It is worth mentioning that Razan is the second medic to be killed by Israeli army fire since March 30th, after the soldiers killed Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein, 36, who was shot on May 14th, while wearing a clearly marked medic vest.

The soldiers also injured 223 medics, including 29 who were shot with live fire or after being directly targeted with high-velocity gas bombs.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), said Razan was a volunteer with the PMRS, and was killed after the soldiers fired live rounds at a filed clinic, hundreds of meters away from the border fence.

Dr. Barghouthi said the killing of the volunteer medic is another crime committed by Israel against innocent civilians, including medics and journalists, and added that the medical teams will continue their humanitarian duties despite the Israeli violations, and constant escalation.

Razan’s death brings the number of Palestinians, killed by Israeli army fire since the beginning of the “Great Return Match, on March 30th, to 119, while more than 13400 have been injured, including 330 who suffered life-threatening wounds.

— This Video about Razan was published two months ago by Pal+ English on their Facebook Page

•First Published on: Jun 2, 2018 @ 01:56

fly bird (26)
Friday June 1, 2018, 8:13 pm

fly bird (26)
Friday June 1, 2018, 8:19 pm
Gaza medic killed by Israel was shot in the back.

A photo taken on 1 April shows Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar treating injured persons at an emergency medical tent during protests in Gaza near the boundary with Israel. Al-Najjar was fatally shot by an Israeli sniper as she was helping injured protesters near Khan Younis on 1 June.
(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Israeli occupation forces shot dead a volunteer medic and injured dozens of people as they continued their indiscriminate attacks on Palestinians taking part in Great March of Return protests in Gaza for the 10th consecutive Friday.

Razan Ashraf Abdul Qadir al-Najjar, 21, was helping treat and evacuate wounded protesters east of Khan Younis when she was fatally shot in the back on Friday evening.

She was about 100 meters away from the boundary fence with Israel at the moment she was shot and was wearing clothing clearly identifying her as a medic, the human rights group Al Mezan stated, citing eyewitnesses.

Al-Najjar had become known for her bravery and insistence on carrying out her medical rescue work despite the obvious danger.

She had previously been injured by tear gas inhalation, and on 13 April broke her wrist while running to attend to a wounded person. But al-Najjar refused to go to the hospital that day and continued working in the field.

“It’s my duty and responsibility to be there and aid those injured,” she told Al Jazeera.

She also bore witness to the final moments of some of those fatally wounded before her.

“It breaks my heart that some of the young men who were injured or killed made their wills in front of me,” she told Al Jazeera. “Some even gave me their accessories [as gifts] before they died.”

Al-Najjar spoke about her work in an earlier TV interview that was shared widely on social media following the news of her death:

Many Twitter users, especially from Gaza, paid tribute to al-Najjar:

Palestinian media shared images of al-Najjar’s family and colleagues mourning her death:

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, paid tribute to al-Najjar as a dedicated humanitarian volunteer who did not leave her post until she “gave herself as a martyr.”

Al-Najjar is the second rescue worker to be killed by Israeli forces since the Great March of Return protests began on 30 March.

Two weeks ago, Israeli snipers fatally shot paramedic Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein.

About an hour before he was shot, Abu Hassanein had helped rescue one of his colleagues, the Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani who had been injured by an Israeli bullet.

Loubani later told The Electronic Intifada Podcast how he was shot in the leg when everything was quiet around him: “No burning tires, no smoke, no tear gas, nobody messing around in front of the buffer zone. Just a clearly marked medical team well away from everybody else.”

Since the start of the protests, Israeli forces have injured almost 50 medical workers in Gaza.

This Friday, as they have every week, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas at Palestinians along Gaza’s eastern boundary, injuring almost 100 people, more than 30 of them with live bullets, according to Al Mezan.

“Protesters presented no danger or threat to the safety of the soldiers, which confirms that the violations committed by these forces are grave and systematic and amount to war crimes,” the human rights group stated.

Since the end of March, Israeli forces have killed 129 people in Gaza including 15 children, 98 of them during protests, according to Al Mezan.

War surgeons

As Israel continued to add to the staggering toll on Friday, the health system in Gaza was already beyond coping with the accumulation of people injured by the apparent use of fragmenting ammunition that causes horrifying injuries requiring intensive and complex treatment and often leaving victims with permanent disabilities.

Of the more than 7,000 people injured, more than half have been shot with live ammunition.

On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it was dispatching two teams of war surgeons and medical supplies to Gaza to shore up a healthcare system it said was on the “brink of collapse.”

The ICRC said the priority for its six-month mission will be to treat gunshot wound victims, among them about 1,350 patients who will need three to five operations each.

“Such a caseload would overwhelm any health system,” the ICRC stated. “In Gaza, the situation is worsened by chronic shortages of drugs, equipment and electricity.”

“Toxic slum”

The sustained protests in Gaza are to call for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands now in Israel, and to demand an end to Israel’s more than decade-long siege of the territory.

Gaza’s two million residents are being “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death,” United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.

Zeid also told the council that there is “little evidence” that Israel is doing anything to minimize casualties.

He confirmed that protesters’ “actions alone do not appear to constitute the imminent threat to life or deadly injury which could justify the use of lethal force.”

Zeid spoke to the council as it was considering a draft resolution on sending an international war crimes probe to Gaza.

Last week, the Human Rights Council voted by 29-2 to establish an independent inquiry into the violence in Gaza.

Only the United States and Australia voted against an inquiry, but several European Union governments including the UK and Germany were among the 14 that abstained.

Medical Aid for Palestinians, a charity that has been providing emergency assistance amid the growing calamity, and a dozen other organizations, have criticized the British government’s refusal to support an inquiry “to assess violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in Gaza.”

But attempts to hold Israel accountable continue amid the intransigent opposition of Israel’s backers.

On Friday evening, the UN Security Council voted on a draft resolution put forward by Kuwait, deploring “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces” and calling for “measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians.

It also called for an end to the blockade of Gaza and deplored “the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas.”

Ten countries, including permanent members Russia and France, voted in favor. Four, including Britain, abstained.

Despite having enough votes to pass, the resolution was killed by US ambassador Nikki Haley, who – as she had promised to do – cast her country’s veto.

Haley then put forward her own draft resolution absolving Israel of any responsibility for the violence in Gaza and laying all blame for the situation on Hamas.

The United States was the only country to vote in favor.

Colleen L (3)
Saturday June 2, 2018, 10:59 am
Despicable. This violence must stop. Thanks Fly

TOM TREE (247)
Sunday June 3, 2018, 4:18 pm

fly bird (26)
Wednesday June 6, 2018, 8:58 am
Israeli army says the killing of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar was ‘just an accident’.
June 6, 2018

Jonathan Ofir

“Israeli soldiers did not fire directly at Razan al-Najjar, a Palestinian medic who was killed on Friday during protests on the Gaza border, a preliminary military investigation found”, Yaniv Kubovich reports for Haaretz.

The probe is not concluded, it is only in its early stages. Yet they can already tell us about this unequivocal finding. It was an accident. From Haaretz:

“The probe was based primarily on interviews with soldiers who were on the scene. As part of the inquiry, which the military said hasn’t concluded yet, the military examined who opened fire during the event and how much ammunition was used. The investigation found the soldiers opened fire at other demonstrators, and not directly at Najjar.”

Here is the tweet from the Israeli Defense Forces.
Now, why should we not believe this? The “most moral army in the world” said it, that couldn’t possibly be wrong, right?

Well you don’t have to go far back in time to understand why Israeli army investigations have a huge credibility problem.

The case of the Samir Awad

This week, in the case of the 2013 killing of 16-year-old Samir Awad of Budrus when he posed absolutely no danger (8 bullets in the back, including one to the head), the state prosecution decided to drop the charges earlier this week, charges that had been watered down to “negligence”.

As John Brown notes in the detailed account (Hebrew, Haaretz ), the investigation proved to be full of lies. First the force claimed to not have used live fire at all, but only means for dispersing stone-throwing demonstrations. Except that stones were not even thrown there. After it became clear that the boy died of his wounds, the version was changed into them shooting non-lethal warning shots and that Samir merely fell and died of his fall. When it was revealed from the autopsy that Samir had died from a bullet to the head, the version was changed into one wherein Samir supposedly posed a lethal threat to the lives of the soldiers. In the end, the forensic examination was so sloppy, that it could not be determined which of two soldiers fired the lethal shot.

It took a whole lot of effort to get to indictment, with the help of B’Tselem, and it ended only with a charge of “negligence”, but even that was dropped. The defense’s threat to open up the can of worms regarding many other cases was apparently too serious a threat for the state.

Israeli legal human rights organization Yesh Din said in a statement issued in response:

“The prosecutor’s announcement of the cancellation of the indictments against the two soldiers involved in the killing of the youth Samir Awad constitutes another example of the impunity enjoyed by soldiers who wound Palestinians.”

“The bottom line is that the military system protects soldiers who violate the law and wound Palestinians, while leaving Palestinians defenseless.”

Gaby Lasky, a lawyer who represents the Awad family, commented:

“[The decision to withdraw the charges was] another case of whitewashing the killing of Palestinians. A teenager was shot in the head with his back to the soldiers on his way to the village where he lives. There are no legal orders that permit shooting at the upper body under such circumstances, in which there is no danger to the lives of the soldiers or other people and no danger whatsoever. If there are rules of engagement that permit such shooting, then those rules themselves are illegal.”

“Falling off a bike”

In the case of the December 2017 shooting in the head of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi (Ahed’s cousin), who miraculously survived, an Israeli general seriously claimed that Mohammed’s injury was simply due to his falling off his bike.

Major General Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), claimed on a Facebook post that Mohammed was not hit by a bullet, but rather fell from his bicycle. Mordechai is the highest direct authority of the Israeli occupation, and he wrote this on the COGAT official Arabic Facebook page. “A culture of lies and incitement continues for young people and adults in the Tamimi family”, he wrote. The post was plastered with a red stamp saying “fake news” in Arabic. This ran against forensic evidence, of which there was no lack of. The army had simply managed to extract a “confession” from Mohammed, obtained under the usual criminal duress. There is no shame here.

Assumption of innocence

Israelis seem to love this assumption of innocence when it regards soldiers. The myth of the “most moral army in the world” is so addictive, that there is a reflexive proneness to believe anything that may confirm it, and to assume this innocence in advance. As I had mentioned two days ago, this assumption even comes from prominent Haaretz journalists, as in the actual case of Razan al-Najar. Asaf Ronel of Haaretz simply assumed that “it’s unlikely that a sniper deliberately killed Razan al-Najjar” – with absolutely no evidence to back it. Such assumptions are so common in Israel that they are hardly noticed anymore.

It is extremely rare that Israeli military cases involving killings actually get to indictment, and it usually requires an actual close-up filming of the event (with the shooter and the victim) to qualify it for some sort of indictment (as in the Azarya case), or sometimes extreme legal pressure from organizations and also international pressure, as in the case of the killing of British photographer and human rights activist Tom Hurndall in Gaza, 2004 (see on that in the link above re. Azarya).

Should we thus take the army by the word, and assume that the soldiers simply killed Razan al-Najjar by accident? That would be an extremely irresponsible thing to do. The army proclamation of innocence is meant for those who are already Hasbara-junkies, those who already believe the “most moral army” in advance. Because Israeli soldiers “are not murderers”.

H/t Hala Gabriel, Nasser Butt

fly bird (26)
Sunday June 17, 2018, 10:18 pm
Women on the frontlines risk death for their rights.
9 June 2018

Palestinian women have been at the frontlines of Great March of Return protests in Gaza, as well as providing logistical support, cultural activities and risking their lives as journalists and medics.
(Mahmoud Ajour / APA images)

Islam Khreis has thrown quite a few stones at Israeli troops lately.

“These are historic days,” the 28-year-old Gaza resident said. “We are telling the whole world that we have never forgotten our legitimate right of return to our stolen villages and towns.”

Stone-throwing is a simple act of resistance for Palestinians. It is a symbolic way of confronting one of the most militarized nations on earth.

It has been a tactic used by some participants in the Great March of Return – protests demanding that Palestinians be allowed home to villages and towns from which Zionist forces expelled them in 1948.

Although photographs of Palestinians launching stones from slingshots tend to show young men, Khreis was among a number women who did so. In fact, she was active across the spectrum. She helped provide first aid to protesters wounded by Israeli snipers, and, as a journalism student at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, she also conducted interviews with protesters, though, as one unaffiliated, she did so without the protection of any special markings on her clothes.

Khreis feels a sense of camaraderie with men who have ventured close to the boundary separating Gaza and present-day Israel. More than 100 unarmed demonstrators have been killed by Israel since the Great Return March began on 30 March.

“My heart breaks when I see the young men falling on the ground after being hit by the Israeli snipers’ bullets,” Khreis said. “This is the result of the unfair blockade being imposed on Gaza. If those young men had decent jobs, good education, basic services and freedom of movement, they would not have to walk towards their own deaths.”

Of course, many women and girls have also been injured during the protests.

One teenage child, Wesal al-Sheikh Khalil, was killed as she took part in demonstrations on 14 May. And in early June, the 21-year-old nurse Razan al-Najjar was shot dead as she was helping evacuate and treat the wounded.

“Clear message”

Mariam Mattar, 16, was shot in the leg during a recent protest. She was carrying a Palestinian flag at the time.

“I lost consciousness,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “When I woke up, I was in a hospital bed.”

Despite her injury, Mattar fully approves of the protests. “We want to deliver a clear message to the whole world,” she said. “The Palestinian people yearn for a day when they will be able to return to their homes. We hope it will come soon.”

Israel’s widespread use of tear gas – a chemical weapon that in Gaza was sprayed on protesters from drones – has affected many women, too.

Amani Abu Jidian has gone to recent demonstrations – usually held on Fridays – with her children.

“My two sons have insisted on going every Friday,” she said. “I know it is dangerous, so to make sure that they remain safe and not get too close, I have accompanied them as they approached the boundary. I have kept watching them.”

On 11 May, Abu Jidian was inside one of the tents erected in support of the protests when it was attacked by tear gas.

“I felt like I was suffocating,” she said.

Teaching traditions

Even though the tents do not provide any real protection, they have proven to be important gathering places.

Maryam Abu Zubayda, 63, has been making meals for protesters distributed in the tents. These have included traditional dishes like maftoul – Palestinian couscous – and sumaghiya, a beef and chickpea stew.

While visiting the tents, she has been singing national songs and embroidering, all in support of those demonstrating.

“This is a great way for me to spend time with my friends,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “And, at the same time, we are doing a good job of teaching our traditions to the younger generation in order to preserve them for the future.”

Maryam has brought her 7-year-old granddaughter Farah to a tent on some of those days. By going there, Farah has learned songs such as “Zareef al-Tool,” a lament for the towns and villages that Palestinians were forced to leave in 1948.

“I like it when I have finished my lessons and my grandmother agrees to take me with her to the tent,” said Farah. “I enjoyed my time there a lot.”

When Israel has attacked the protests, women have treated the wounded. The killings of Razan al-Najjar and, before her, Mousa Abu Hassanein have highlighted the risks medics face.

Anwar Mohammed, a 26-year-old nurse, has given first aid to protesters who have been shot.

“Our job has been so challenging over the few past weeks,” she said. “We’ve dealt with a very large number of casualties.”

Mohammed has worked from a field hospital but on occasions was asked to approach the boundary to provide emergency assistance.

“The pressure and stress we are under has been huge, particularly during the Friday protests,” she added.

The bravery she has displayed has earned her considerable respect.

“It was something new for the protesters to see female nurses at the frontlines,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “We were exposing ourselves to danger and helping to save lives. But it did not take the protesters long to get used to us. They listened to our instructions and obeyed them.”

Isra Saleh el-Namey is a journalist from Gaza.
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