A photo taken April 1 shows Razan al-Najjar, a Palestinian nurse, stooping to help an injured man at an emergency medical tent near Khan Younis, during the 2018 Gaza border protests. Al-Najjar, however, did not live to help many more. She was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper as she performed her duties on June 1.
Razan Ashraf Abdul Qadir al-Najjar
1996/1997 – 1 June 2018.
A Palestinian nurse/paramedic who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces while volunteering as a medic during the 2018 Gaza border protests. She was fatally shot in the chest by an Israeli soldier. pic.twitter.com/OnybeIyIo5
— Steve Cambridge (@stevencambs) August 13, 2018
The human rights group, B’Tselem, investigated al-Najjar’s death and found that she was intentionally targeted by an Israeli sniper
The Israeli sniper took the life of the 21 year old girl while she was treating Palestinians participating in the Great March of Return protest in Gaza, east of Khan Younis, close to the boundary fence with Israel.
Al-Najjar “was terribly shot by a member of the security forces who was aiming directly at her as she was standing about 25 meters away from the fence, despite the fact that she posed no danger to him or anyone else and was wearing a medical uniform,” B’Tselem stated.
All paramedics on the scene, including Al-Najjar ,Rami Abu Jazar, Rasha Qudaih, Rida al-Najjar and Mahmoud Abd al-Ati were wearing conspicuous medical uniforms. Despite this, al-Najjar was shot dead in the field.
This small group of medics were heading unarmed towards the border fence. Their arms were raised to show so they only came to rescue two young men, who had passed out due to heavy amounts of teargas fired by Israelis.
“We got to the two young men, and when we started evacuating them, the soldiers started firing a heavy barrage of teargas canisters at us,” Jazar told B’Tselem.
Because of the heavy teargas, al-Najjar and the other medics had a hard time breathing. So they moved to a more breathable area to receive medical care from their colleagues. Meanwhile, the two passed out men were taken care of by other medics.
Al-Najjar received the first aid she needed to clear her lungs of teargas. Al-Ati, who helped care for al-Najjar, told B’Tselem that in a little while, “we went back and stood northwest of the protesters, about 10 to 20 meters away from the concertina fence.”
Jazar corroborated this saying that after al Najjar was cared for, the medics came nearer to the protest to help.“We stood about 10 meters away from them, which was about 25 meters away from the fence. There were no protesters near us” Jazar stated.
At that time, the Israeli sniper was intentionally pointing his gun at the young nurse, Razan al-Najjar.
According to Jazar, he saw two Israeli soldiers getting out of a military jeep, taking a sniper stance and aiming their guns at a group of paramedics, including himself, al-Ati, and al-Najjar. Straight away, the Israelis fired their bullets at them.
“Two soldiers got out of a military jeep and pointed their guns at us. They fired two bullets at us,” al-Ati said.
“I looked at Razan and saw her point to her back and then fall down” Jazar added.
The bullet hit al-Najjar in the left side of her chest and exited from her back while al-Ati was hit by fragments from a live round. The shrapnel injured his right hand and pelvis. Jazar was shot in the leg.
After half an hour of continuous efforts to rescue Razan al-Najjar at The European Hospital near Khan Younis, she was pronounced dead.
The Israeli military attempted to cover up the murder of al-Najjar. But B’Tselem noticed the manipulation of the reports.
Initially, the army pretended that soldiers weren’t firing directly at the paramedic.
The human rights group states, “Razan al-Najjar killing is a direct result of the open-fire policy Israel has been implementing since the protests began.”
Some 150 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces since the Great March of Return launched on March, 30. The vast majority of those killed were unarmed civilians.
More than 4,000 demonstrating Palestinians were wounded by live fire.
Paramedic Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein was killed by an Israeli sniper two weeks before al-Najjar died, despite his clear mark to rescue purpose.
World Health Organization figures cited by B’Tselem states that some 350 Gaza medical personnel and first responders assisting the injured during the border protests were injured. This includes 26 that were hit by live fire,12 that were wounded, and around 40 directly hit by tear gas canisters. Also, many ambulances were damaged.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor has warned Israeli leaders and commanders that they will be tried in court for allowing Israeli snipers to shoot directly at unarmed protesters, including children.
Al-Haq is a Palestinian human rights group that had already refuted the Israeli army’s self-investigation into al-Najjar’s murder as a “sham” that is “neither transparent nor credible.”
Nursing was the dream of her life
On that tragic day, Razan al-Najjar was doing her career dream– offering medical assistance to the sick and poor.
Sabrin al-Najjar – Razan’s mother – told B’Tselem:“She loved life and was always smiling. She dreamed of studying nursing at the university, but our finances wouldn’t allow it so she had to do first aid courses. Razan’s enthusiasm to prove herself in the nursing field, made up for her not being able to go to the university and she worked hard until she earned the respect of her doctors and other colleagues.”
Her murder has left behind a collapsed family filled with sorrow and grief.
“Sometimes I call her when it’s time to eat, because I feel that she’s with us and she hasn’t died. The whole family is having a really hard time,” Sabrin added.
Her mother wishes that her prayers will be received by God and fill her daughter with mercy and grace.
Describing the emotions of grief every member of the family is facing after the death of Razan hurts deeply. What makes it harder for her mother is having to witness her father’s extreme sadness, seeing his tears drop all the time.
Everyone is feeling deep sadness because Razan will never return, and her loss will never be understood. Especially by her younger siblings, who continue to wait for her.
“What wrong did Razan commit that she had to be killed?” Sabrin asked.
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