Trump’s Israeli Embassy Move Is Getting Medics Killed
On the same day that the US rejected a resolution to protect Palestinians from Israeli violence, an Israeli soldier shot and killed a female medic named Razan al-Najjar. She was running towards the border fence to provide aid to a wounded protester when she was shot in the chest at 100 meters. She was wearing medical garb in order to identify her role. Jamie McGoldrick, a local UN coordinator condemned the shooting along with James Heenan of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted:
Medical workers are #NotATarget! My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of #Razan_AlNajjar! #Palestinians in #Gaza have had enough suffering. #Israel needs to calibrate its use of force and Hamas need to prevent incidents at the fence. Escalation only costs more lives.
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) June 2, 2018
One report by NBC News says that the Hamas leadership, the militant group that has de facto governing authority in Gaza, organized protesters to contest the Israeli-Egyptian border economic blockade. That blockade has been imposed since 2007 but tensions were inflamed in recent months over US President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. To Palestinians, the move symbolizes the US’ recognition of Israel’s supreme power over captured and occupied Palestinian land. So far, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed 119 Palestinians which includes 14 children and wounded 13,000 more. The protests are now going into their 11th week.
Trump administration rejects palestinian protection
The UN Security Council formed a resolution that would have condemned Israel’s “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinians.” The Security Council held a vote on Friday but Trump’s US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, vetoed it saying that the resolution was one-sided. Al-Jazeera English has a solid report on the vote and how Nikki Haley tried to lobby others in the SC to vote against the resolution.
For weeks, Nikki Haley has pushed back against Palestinians and Iran saying that Israel had to defend themselves. But the Trump administration has never been clear about a diplomatic policy agenda in the area. In fact, the move of the US embassy caused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cut contacts with US officials, even Democrats. The Trump administration has used such a move as a way to argue that the Palestinians are rejecting peace. But, the fact that the IDF shot and killed a clearly identifiable medic on the same day that the US vetoed the resolution can also be interpreted as deliberate targeting of Palestinians.
Razan al-Najjar was a volunteer
Here is footage of al-Najjar’s funeral.
Razan was not just some unknown or forgotten Palestinian. The New York Times interviewed her just last month in a report they did about Gaza. In her interview, she said that Gaza needed more female medics on site. She said that she and other medics were willing to help other protesters without pay. Razan said that her father even asked her why she did it if she was not getting paid. One of the things that Gaza struggles with is unemployment. Certainly, al-Najjar was a product of that struggle.
related: The Trump Effect? Not A ‘Single’ Palestinian Allowed Back To Israel, Def. Minister Declares
In an interview with TRT World, Razan said that their entire medical team had been targeted on her first day. TRT World is run by the Turkish state whose President Erdogan supports Hamas as a resistance movement and not a terrorist organization. The US and Israel are among those who have declared Hamas as a terrorists. Razan’s cousin was on Democracy Now where she said that her cousin had always wanted to be a nurse. Unfortunately, she was unable to afford a nursing degree and entered a volunteer training program for two years. Her cousin said that Razan was a source of inspiration for other medics. Democracy Now featured a clip of Razan’s mother saying that her daughter would come home and tell her about the close calls she had with IDF snipers.
“Medical Personnel are Targeted”
Dr. Medhat Abbas who is the director of Al-Shifa Hospital was also a guest on Democracy Now. He said that Razan did not go to his hospital but that they’ve received their fair share of Palestinians who have been shot by the IDF. Amy Goodman then asked Dr. Abbas:
Can you comment on whether you think medical personnel like Razan are being targeted? According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, 245 health workers and 40 ambulances have been targeted by Israeli Security Forces since The Great March of Return began on March 30th.
She then showed a clip of an interview she did a few weeks before with a Canadian-Palestinian medical doctor Tarek Loubani. He was one of 19 medical personnel at the time that had been shot in Gaza. The medic that went to help Dr. Loubani was shot dead. In the interview, he said that he did not know if they were deliberate targets. He did however say that in the six weeks of protests, not one paramedic had been shot at but that they had suddenly all became targets that day. Dr. Loubani also said that most everyone shot was hit in their lower limbs. He then said:
It’s very hard to believe that they (IDF) didn’t know who we were, they didn’t know what were doing and that they were aiming at anything else.
Dr. Abbas agreed that they were indeed targets saying that it was a tactic of intimidation for demanding their freedom. The Israeli government has defended itself saying that the situation was chaotic. They claimed that they would launch an investigation on the killing of Razan al-Najjar.
Featured image via YouTube