On the killing of Palestinian nurse Razan Ashraf al-Najjar

Press Release: June 5, 2018

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) strongly condemns the fatal shooting of volunteer nurse-paramedic Razan Ashraf al-Najjar, 21 by Israeli snipers as she was helping treat and evacuate wounded protesters east of Khan Younis, Gaza last June 1. She was seen wearing clothing clearly identifying her as a medic and with raised arms as an affirmation of not posing any danger to the heavily armed occupation forces. Hundreds suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures while 68 other civilians including 8 children, 7 paramedics and 2 journalists were wounded after Israeli forces open fired bullets and tear gas canisters in that peaceful Gaza demonstration.

Nurse Razan al-Najjar is the second rescue worker to be killed by Israeli forces since the “Great March of Return” protests began on March 30 this year. According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 200 others have been injured and 37 ambulances have been damaged. Two weeks ago, Isreali snipers fatally shot paramedic Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein. About an hour before he was shot, Abu Hassanein had helped rescue one of his colleagues, the Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani who had been injured by an Israeli bullet. Loubani later told how he was shot in the leg when everything was quiet around him. He was quoted as saying that no burning tires, smoke, or tear gas, and nobody messing around in front of the buffer zone – just a clearly marked medical team well away from everybody else.

The massive number of casualties and the manner by which the medical personnel were preyed on proves there is an Israeli systematic policy of targeting the medical personnel while carrying out their humanitarian duty.

Health Alliance for Democracy believes that these different attacks against the Palestinian medical personnel, especially those working in the field, are a serious violation of the international human rights, humanitarian laws and corresponding international standards regulating the protection rules of medical personnel, including paramedics, their vehicles and medical facilities. The serious violations and deliberate attacks against the medical personnel amount to no less than a war crimes per the 1949 fourth Geneva Convention. The use of lethal force is a serious violation of the rules of intentional law and international humanitarian law.

We join the world in condemning these crimes committed by Israeli forces and share the belief that Israel’s impunity is strongly backed by the U.S. We also support the call for an urgent, impartial and comprehensive investigation and appropriate actions by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, and High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Protocols. Furthermore, we remain in solidarity with the Palestinian people for their longstanding cry for justice and the call to Free Palestine and End the Israeli occupation.##

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