Israeli soldiers killed slain Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar with “deliberate shots”, an investigation by Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem has concluded.
B’Tselem contrasted the findings of their investigation with “the changing versions supplied by the IDF Spokesperson” and concluded that “a routine of whitewashing [by Israeli authorities] ensures very slim chances of anyone being held accountable”.
According to B’Tselem, during a 1 June protest in the occupied Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers “deliberately fired at Palestinian paramedics wearing medical crew uniforms who were 25 meters from the fence”, killing Razan, and wounding two others.
At approximately 6pm, “a group of paramedics approached the fence to evacuate two young men suffering from teargas inhalation”, B’Tselem recounted. “The paramedics were wearing identifying uniforms and, as they approached, kept their hands up in the air”.
Rami Abu Jazar, a volunteer paramedic alongside Razan, told B’Tselem what happened next.
“We stood about 10 meters away from them [the stricken protesters], which was about 25 meters away from the fence. There were no protesters near us. At around a quarter to six, we saw two soldiers get out of a military jeep, kneel and aim their guns at us, taking up a sniper stance”.
Two live rounds were fired at the paramedics, hitting Razan in the chest, and Rami in the left leg – a third paramedic was hit by shrapnel. Razan died in hospital not long afterwards.
As noted by B’Tselem, the Israeli army initially claimed “that soldiers did not fire at the spot where she [Razan] had been standing”, then suggested she “might have been killed by a ricochet”, before “finally accusing her of serving as a human shield for rioters”.
In contrast to these changing stories, B’Tselem’s investigation proves that the 20-year-old paramedic “was fatally shot” by an Israeli soldier “who was aiming directly at her as she was standing about 25 meters away from the fence, despite the fact that she posed no danger to him or anyone else and was wearing a medical uniform”.
The NGO stressed that the killing of Razan “is a direct result of the open-fire policy Israel has been implementing since the protests began”, whose “lethal results of this policy are well known”.
“According to figures up until 10 July 2018 as released by the World Health Organization, 357 medical staff had been hurt: 26 by live fire; 37 were directly hit by teargas canisters; 12 were hit by shrapnel; no details were given for the rest. In addition, 58 ambulances sustained damage”, the NGO noted.
“Israel is indifferent to the killing of Palestinians”, B’Tselem concluded. “Otherwise, it would long ago have changed its open-fire policy and stopped shooting at unarmed protesters on the other side of the fence who pose no danger to anyone”.
In addition, the military’s “whitewashing apparatus…almost always ensure no one will be held accountable for the killing of Palestinians” – “even in outrageous circumstances” like Razan’s killing.