LAST Saturday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral in Gaza of a volunteer female medic who was killed by Israeli fire during protests near the border with Israel.
Gentle Razan al-Najar, 21, was shot dead as she ran towards the border fence last Friday to help a casualty.
The death of Razan followed weeks of killings and crippling woundings by Israel’s IDF forces on the Gaza-Israel border.
More than 100 men, women and children have been killed by Israeli forces amid protests in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.
Israel claims its soldiers have only opened fire on people trying to break through the border under cover of protests, and has blamed the group Hamas for orchestrating the violence.
But UN and human rights officials have accused Israel of using disproportionate force.
At Saturday’s funeral procession, Razan’s body was carried through the streets of Gaza wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
Her father carried her blood-stained medical jacket, while other mourners demanded revenge.
The Palestinian Medical Relief Society said Razan had been trying to reach an injured protester when she was shot near the city of Khan Younis.
“Shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions,” it said in a statement.
UN envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that Israel needed to calibrate its use of force.
The UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also said it was “deeply concerned” and called for the protection of medical workers.
Israel’s military claimed its troops along the border had been attacked by militants with gunfire and a grenade on Friday.
It said in a written statement that it would investigate the death of Ms Najar.
The day after Razan al-Najar funeral, Mohammed Naaim Hamada, 30, died on Sunday morning east of the Gaza Strip as a result of wounds inflicted by Israeli security forces on May 14.
Hamada’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 121.
Palestinian health officials say another 10,000 have been seriously injured by Israeli troops over the past six weeks at a series of protests along the border.
Sixty died on one day alone, when 40,000 took part in demonstrations that coincided with the controversial relocation to Jerusalem of the US embassy.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel’s military of carrying out “massacres” of unarmed civilians.
Hamas and other groups organised the protest campaign, dubbed the “Great March of Return“, in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to land they or their ancestors fled from or were forced to leave in the war which followed Israel’s founding in 1948.
The Israeli government, which has long ruled out any right of return, said terrorists wanted to use the protests as cover to cross into its territory and carry out attacks.
Before the protests began, Israeli officials said soldiers would be permitted under certain rules to fire live ammunition at anyone attempting to damage the border fence, and even against people coming within 300m (985ft) of it – a figure that was reportedly later reduced to 100m.
They said Israeli soldiers deployed near the Gaza protests were required to operate according to the international legal framework applicable to police and other law enforcement officials, which is part of international human rights law.
It holds that the “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”.
“An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“This is also the case with regards to stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions.”
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East director, said: “This is a violation of international standards, with Israeli forces in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.”
Last month, the group documented witness testimony, video and photographic evidence that it said showed Israeli troops were killing and maiming demonstrators who posed no imminent threat to them.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the open-fire orders were “manifestly unlawful” and called on Israeli soldiers in the field to refuse to comply with them.
Last month, six other human rights groups asked the Israeli Supreme Court to revoke the military’s rules of engagement that they said permitted live fire at protesters classified as “key agitators” even when they did not pose an immediate threat to life. The groups said soldiers should instead follow the law enforcement framework. The court’s decision is pending.
Palestinian campaigner Nahida Izzat sets out the ongoing crisis in Gaza in startling black and white: “We the Palestinian Nation have been victims of insanely sadistic cruelty, assassinations of pregnant mothers, torture of children, psycho-terror, loss of land, loss of peace, security and independence, loss of health, destruction of our architectural and archeological cultural heritage, loss of collective and personal property, loss of economic means, all at the hands and policies of a foreign and psychopathic body of Jewish Zionist terrorists and their international network of accomplices, for more than seven decades.
“Myriads of Jewish-Zionist funds and foundations continue to raise and collect sums in the billions from international Jewish communities, to finance (either overtly or covertly) the destruction of our nation and our homeland.”
For the past 85 years there have been four major Intifadas (uprisings) in Palestine in 1929, 1936, 1987, 2000.
For six generations there have been 10 wars of aggression by Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1996, 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014.
Tens of thousands of innocent and peace seeking civilians now lie dead.
Nahida Izzat continues: “Yet, the racist supremacist occupiers Israel still have not learned how to co-exist and live peacefully without violence or aggression.
“Their ideological supremacy and fanaticism is now worsening and spiralling out of control.
Yet, comes those fake “doves” who want to hoodwink Palestinians and the world into believing that “coexistence” and “peace” with violent, nuclear-armed supremacist is not only possible, but only just around the corner!
“I call this behaviour a deception of the highest order.
- If every single one of us, 11 million Palestinians, agrees to “coexist” with those who raped our land and dispossessed us;
- If we all become ideological clones of Mahmoud Abbas;
- If we run with open arms smothering our occupiers with hugs and kisses;
- If we agree to absolve them of all the century of crimes;
- If we embrace them under the banner of “equal rights for all”;
“The supremacist occupiers would sneer, turn their heads away in contempt, while plotting for their next expansionist war, for how could a “chosen” ever be “equal” to a “goy”?
“The six million dollar question now is, why on Earth do Jewish supporters ignore the fatal need of Israeli supremacists to learn about equality and co-existence and frenetically chase us, to preach co-existence to us and teach us about equality instead of their own?
“It is time to cut the crap, once and for all, and stop the lie of preaching co-existence to Palestinians when you know fair well that Jewish racism and supremacy lie at the heart of the problem.”
Nahida is right, the root cause to all the problems in the entire Middle East is the ongoing denial of Palestinian freedom.
Israel has chosen occupation over peace, and used negotiations as a smokescreen to advance its colonial project.
Every government across the globe knows this simple fact and yet so many of them pretend that returning to the failed recipes of the past could achieve freedom and peace.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
There can be no negotiations without a clear Israeli commitment to fully withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; a complete end to all colonial policies; a recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including their right to self-determination and return; and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.
Maybe it is useful to remind the world that Palestine’s dispossession, forced exile and transfer, and oppression have now lasted for 70 years.
Palestinian Liberation is the only item to have stood on the UN’s agenda since its inception.
The entire world knows that Jerusalem is the flame that can inspire peace and ignite war.
Why then does the world stand still while the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people in the city and in Muslim and Christian holy sites, notably Al-Haram al-Sharif, continue unabated?
Israel’s actions and crimes not only destroy the two-state solution on 1967 borders and violate international law, they threaten to transform a solvable political conflict into a never-ending religious war that will undermine stability in a region already experiencing unprecedented turmoil.
Israel’s domination of Palestinians makes violence inevitable
The latest round of attacks is shocking, but no anomaly. There will never be quiet as long as one group of citizens are forced to live without rights, and with no way out
No people on the globe would accept to coexist with oppression.
By nature, humans yearn for freedom, struggle for freedom, sacrifice for freedom, and the freedom of the Palestinian people is long overdue.
And in words that would have sat easily with Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, Nahida Izzat adds: “We the Palestinian people aim to steer our own struggle towards liberation those who want to steer in the same direction are welcome, those who want to steer in a different direction, to protect our killers and secure their future from any upcoming natural justice, are advised to jump across and join the other camp right away, rather than waiting for the future.
“We refuse to grant legitimacy to supremacists, mass-murderers and baby-killers.
“The only fair solution for such chronic grave injustice, to right the wrong of a century of crimes against humanity is the Algerian model of the full Liberation of Palestine.”
Indeed, now is the time to Free Palestine.
Spread the word!