“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. . . .
We Gazans are caught between a rock and an unlivable, uninhabitable place, where the water we drink and the soil in which we plant are poisoning us and our children. Our air, land and sea are completely sealed off by Israel and Egypt’s military might. We Gazans endure humanitarian disaster, generation after generation, and are denied even the most basic right to escape a slow death. We are two million civilian prisoners, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death.
On June 1, 21-year-old volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar was shot dead at the Gaza protests while rescuing injured protestors near the separation fence.
Anyone with the smallest modicum of moral decency should be shattered, devastated and overwhelmed by her death, just as they should be devastated by the horrendous improvised projectile that hit a kindergarten in Israel. Both incidents deserve unequivocal condemnation, at the very least, though only one resulted in death (thank God, none of the children were hurt).
But al-Najjar’s murder shows us something else, something horrific that transcends the border shootings. For the systematic dehumanization of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, happens not only at the hands of the Israeli guns and policies but in the media afterwards, in the framing by Israel’s supporters.
“On one side, you have kids with slingshots and people who burn tires, and on other side, there’s sophisticated army of snipers and soldiers.”
— Dr. Marc Sinclair
Along the fence dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel lie a bunch of tents of volunteers who drag injured demonstrators away from the danger zone to provide necessary help using basic medical tools.
One of the young women in white paramedic’s uniform was Razan Al Najjar, the 21-year-old volunteer emergency medical worker who was recently shot dead as she tried to aid a demonstrator, during the ongoing Palestinian protest campaign.
“Razan was a very outspoken and proud woman. She was sure of her role and what she could do to contribute on ground,” said Dr Marc Sinclair, a Dubai-based pediatric orthopedic surgeon who founded the Little Wings Foundation charity that treats children in Palestine.
“In our society 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. The strength that I showed the first day of the protests, I dare you to find it in anyone else.”
— Razan al-Najjar, Palestinian paramedic, killed on Jun 1, 2018
She had become a fixture at the weekly protests along the fence dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel, a young woman in a white paramedic’s uniform rushing into harm’s way to help treat the wounded.
As a volunteer emergency medical worker, she said she wanted to prove that women had a role to play in the conservative Palestinian society of Gaza.
“Being a medic is not only a job for a man,” Razan al-Najjar, 20, said in an interview at a Gaza protest camp last month. “It’s for women, too.”
An hour before dusk on Friday, the 10th week of the Palestinian protest campaign, she ran forward to aid a demonstrator for the last time.
Israeli soldiers fired two or three bullets from across the fence, according to a witness, hitting Ms. Najjar in the upper body. She was pronounced dead soon after.