Israeli army frames slain medic Razan al-Najjar as “Hamas human shield”

Palestinian paramedic, Razan al-Najjar, treating an injured man in Gaza. She was killed on Jun 1 by an Israeli sniper. (photo: Palestine Live)

The IDF describes Razan al-Najjar as an “Hamas human shield.” She describes herself as a “shield of safety” protecting the injured.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | Jun 7, 2018


“I am here on the front line acting as a human shield of safety to protect the injured . . . . No one encouraged me [to be] a paramedic, I encouraged myself. I wanted to take chances and help people.”
— slain Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar


Just when you thought Israel couldn’t get any lower — the Israeli army has just released an incitement video, titled “Hamas’ use of human shields must stop,” in which it frames the slain medic Razan al-Najjar as a “Hamas human shield” — two days after it claimed she was killed by accident.

This is more than adding insult to injury. This is adding malice to crime.

The propaganda effort is based on twisting al-Najjar’s own words. I have consulted with three Arabic experts, who have looked at the original Arabic interview from which the IDF took the “human shield” text, and it is clear to them beyond a doubt that the IDF was knowingly and cynically manipulating Razan’s words to mean something other than what she said. . . .

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What would you do if soldiers dragged your son out of bed in the middle of the night?

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A screenshot from the B’Tselem video documenting the raid on the Da’na family’s home in Hebron. (photo: B’Tselem)

After more than half a century of occupation, most Israelis can no longer imagine themselves in the place of the Palestinians. But if we cannot imagine what it is like to live under occupation, we must at least confront its brutal reality.

By Orly Noy | +972 Magazine | Jun 8, 2018


Under an apartheid regime, it makes no sense to ask the white what he would do in the place of the black. To imagine the the tables turned has become impossible.


Twenty years ago, in March 1998, the head of the Labor Party Ehud Barak was asked by Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy what he would do were he a young Palestinian living under occupation. “If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would, at some point, join one of the terrorist groups,” Barak answered.

Today, not only is it difficult to imagine a Jewish Israeli politician making a similar statement; the question itself sounds imaginary. Can we imagine ourselves as Palestinians? What a strange idea. If there is one thing 50 years of brutal military rule over another people has seared into the Israeli consciousness, it is that there is one law for us, and another for Palestinians — that our destinies as human beings were meant to be different.

When you consistently and systematically abuse the Other for decades, this separation of consciousness becomes a kind of survival mechanism. The fact that we cannot imagine ourselves in the place of those living in Gaza — for example, subject to a siege that forces one to live a life of suffering and extreme poverty — allows us to carry on without pangs of guilt.

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Israel’s defense minister claims slain photojournalist was “Hamas terrorist”

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Palestinian journalists take part in a protest after the killing of fellow journalist Yasser Murtaja, near the Israel-Gaza border, on Apr 8, 2018. (photo: Said Khatib / AFP)

Minister provides no evidence; journalist’s colleagues reject the assertion as “ridiculous.”

By Staff | The Times of Israel | Apr 11, 2018


“[Liberman’s claims are] ridiculous comments that are not worth responding to. Yasser has been working for years in the press and making films for the United Nations, China and others. They killed a journalist and should confess it is a crime.”
— Rushdi Al-Serraj, Ain Media director and co-founder with Yasser Murtaja


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday said a Gaza journalist who was reportedly killed by Israeli gunfire over the weekend was a member of Hamas.

The claim was immediately rejected by one of Yasser Murtaja’s colleagues, who called the statement “ridiculous.”

Palestinians say Yasser Murtaja was shot Friday while covering violent mass demonstrations near the Israeli border. He was reportedly shot in the torso while wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “press” and filming in an area engulfed in thick black smoke caused by protesters setting tires on fire.

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Video emerges of Israeli soldiers cheering as sniper shoots Palestinian

Israel’s military says incident in Gaza Strip will be “thoroughly investigated.”

By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | Apr 10, 2018


“Do you have a bullet in the barrel?” asks a voice off-camera in Hebrew. A crack is heard and the man falls suddenly. “Wow, what a video. Yes! Son of a whore!” another person says as people are seen running towards the victim to help. “Wow. They hit someone in the head,” says an off-camera voice.


Footage has emerged of an Israeli sniper shooting a seemingly unarmed and motionless Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip, followed by exuberant whooping from an onlooker.

Israel’s military said an initial inquiry found the shooting had taken place on 22 December, when one of its soldiers injured the man in his leg during what it called violent riots.

The grainy video comes after almost two weeks of daily protests by Palestinians on the Israel-Gaza border in which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have fatally shot more than two dozen people and wounded hundreds more, according to Gazan health officials. . . .

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Israel’s Gaza nightmare

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Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border as Palestinians protest in Gaza, Mar 30, 2018. (photo: Amir Cohen / Reuters)

The Israel Defense Forces consider “only” 16 casualties a “very significant achievement.”

By Ben Caspit | Al-Monitor | Apr 2, 2018


“Just imagine what could have happened. Picture the outcome if they would have burst through the fence, even at a single point, and begun marching into Israel. It would have ended in a bloodbath. . . . We would have no choice but to employ enormous force, and that would have resulted in dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties. The images would have been a huge victory for the Palestinians.”
— Senior Israeli defense official, speaking anonymously


The March 30 Great March of Return to the Gaza border fence was nothing more than Act 1 of an unfolding drama, a dress rehearsal or possibly a pilot for what one can expect to see in the very near future. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are now preparing for April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day, also the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, and for May 15, Nakba Day, also the day after the United States is expected to open its new embassy in Jerusalem. Further complicating matters, the latter event coincides with the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Great March of Return was initiated and orchestrated by Hamas in an attempt to change the rules of the game, create a new balance of power and send a message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the struggle for the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people is far from over. Hamas is alive and kicking, and it is marching as well.

Hamas is in the process of losing its tunnels as a weapon. The IDF and Egypt have also successfully prevented the group from smuggling into Gaza rockets, missiles and other arms that could break the balance of power. Facing the most threatening dead end ever, Hamas found a way to reinvent itself: a popular, mass march by tens of thousands of people, all heading to the Israeli border at the Erez checkpoint, where they would trample the fence, break the Israeli siege and move on toward Jerusalem or at least to the southern town of Ashkelon. Images of IDF tanks and helicopters firing at civilians marching for their freedom would be Israel’s worst imaginable nightmare.

That is why the IDF has decided not to let that happen.

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Female IDF soldiers move from the front lines to the headlines

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Female soldiers in the IDF take a water break during an exercise on Nov 19, 2007. (photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr)

Debate over mixed-gender IDF units rages in the Hebrew-language press.

By Adiv Sterman | The Times of Israel | Jan 18, 2018


“It is too bad that too many ultra-religious Zionists — both rabbis and MKs — are stoking the flames, stirring up unnecessary controversy, and provoking hatred.”
— Yossi Yehoshua, writing in Yedioth Ahronoth


The frustration felt by many citizens of the Jewish state over the growing chasm between religious-conservative and secular-liberal values in Israel is reflected in today’s Hebrew-language newspapers, as pundits and analysts pretty much across the board denounce calls for draft evasion issued by prominent right-wing rabbis, including Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who went as far as saying that the IDF’s chief of staff should be fired for promoting women’s service in combat roles.

“Woman combat soldiers: The secret to the IDF’s success,” writes Israel Hayom’s Maayan Adam, who is an officer in the army reserves herself. “The comments against women’s service no longer manage to anger me; they even lead me to feel pity. It is easy to notice that behind the patriarchal discourse stands a distress call from a handful of scared men,” Adam says, adding that there can be no turning back now that women have been introduced into the army’s various combat units.

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New legislation promoting human rights for Palestinian children

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An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian boy during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah Aug 28, 2015. (photo: Reuters)

This legislation would prohibit US funding from supporting Israeli military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.

Press Release / Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) / Nov 14, 2017


“[We] strongly endorse Rep. Betty McCollum’s Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. In order for the US to play a constructive role in bringing about a comprehensive and sustainable end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must ensure we are not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli Military Detention system.”
— Churches for Middle East Peace

“Jewish tradition teaches that each and every single person has inherent dignity and worth and must be treated accordingly. This legislation recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children and sends the message that the United States is committed to a future with freedom, safety, and equality for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
— Jewish Voices for Peace


Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today introduced legislation — the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children. The full text of the bill can be found here.

An estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15. In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that Palestinian children are frequently held for extended periods without access to either their parents or attorneys.

“This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”

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Privatizing the Occupation

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Photo courtesy of Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

 How Israel is privatizing its occupation of Palestine — enriching the security industry and allowing the country to evade accountability for human-rights violations

By Antony Loewenstein and Matt Kennard / The Nation
October 27, 2016


 “Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report, ‘Occupation Inc.,’ that detailed how ‘Israeli and international businesses have helped to build, finance, service, and market settlement communities.’ It added, ‘In many cases, businesses are “settlers” themselves.’”


It is 4:30 a.m. with the moon still high in the sky, but Palestinians from across the West Bank are already disembarking from buses outside the Qalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem. They’re about to begin a day’s work on the other side of the separation wall, in Israel.

Qalandia is one of the busiest checkpoints through which Palestinians with the required work documents can travel from the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel. With unemployment around 26 percent in the West Bank (in Gaza, it’s far worse — among the highest in the world, according to the United Nations), it’s always extremely busy at this early hour, because Palestinians need work, which is more readily available in Israel, especially in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. . . .

The warehouse-like checkpoint looks like a cattle pen on the inside: Metal bars on either side and above form a narrow chute, enclosing and herding the workers—many of whom have traveled from villages more than an hour away—toward the point where their documents will be checked by Israeli officials. They then wait on the Israeli side for transport from their employers.

For years, these checkpoints were manned by personnel from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Border Police. But starting in January 2006, gun-toting private security guards joined the soldiers and police. Today, there are 12 checkpoints in the West Bank and two on the Gaza border that use such guards. Israel is slowly privatizing its occupation.

[Continue reading here . . . ]