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“Razan paid with her life for what she believed in”; remembering paramedic Razan al-Najjar killed in Gaza


By Myriam Purtscher - June 10, 2019
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On June 1 2018, 20-year-old paramedic, Razan al-Najjar, was shot in the chest by Israeli live fire whilst attempting to help wounded demonstrators in Gaza.


Najjar had been wearing a high-visibility medical jacket when she was fatally shot during the 10th consecutive week of Friday “Great March of Return” demonstrations along the perimeter fence with Israel.


An investigation conducted by the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem concluded that Israeli security forces intentionally shot and killed Najjar, contradicting the Israeli army's claims that it was an accident.


B’Tselem’s investigation found Najjar was shot in the chest with a single bullet exiting through her back whilst standing 25 metres from the separation fence "despite the fact that she posed no danger to him or anyone else and was wearing a medical uniform."


According to Electronic Intifada, Al-Najjar had become known for her “bravery and insistence on carrying out her medical rescue work despite the obvious danger”.


Before her death, Najjar had already become an icon for the Gaza demonstrations, with dozens of images published online of her wearing colourful headscarves attending to patients.


"I'm a sacrifice for my nation," Razan told Al Jazeera before her death regarding her presence at the demonstrations. "I'm always going to be there for my country and home."


"It's my duty and responsibility to be there and aid those injured."


Najjar also spoke about the difficulty of being accepted as a woman in society. “But society has to accept us. If they don’t want to accept us by choice, they will be forced to. Because we have more strength than any man.”


Najjar aspired to be a doctor, however poor economic conditions and her father's unemployment meant she was unable to follow her aspiration after high school. However, Najjar’s mother Sabreen said this did not deter her daughter.


“Instead, she studied nursing and took several intensive courses, in which she excelled. She reached out to the sick and injured everywhere, providing them with pro bono healthcare services.”


“Razan paid with her life for what she believed in. Her story testifies to Israel’s continuing attempts to assassinate the dreams of Palestinian youth.”


The “Great March of Return” demonstrations began in March 2018 as a peaceful response to Israel’s crippling 12-year long blockade on the enclave, and to call for the right of return for Palestinians exiled during the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.


According to data from the UN, between 30 March 2018 and 22 March 2019, 195 Palestinians, including 41 children, were killed by Israeli security forces in the weekly demonstrations.


Nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been injured in this context, including over 7,000 wounded by live ammunition.


Three clearly identifiable medical personnel have been killed whilst administering aid to demonstrators, and 633 injured in 420 recorded incidents against health staff and facilities.

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