The killing of a 21-year-old female medical worker during the Great March of Return at the Gaza border is nothing short of a war crime, Palestinian officials said, calling on the international community to hold Israel responsible.
The murder of 21-year-old medical volunteer, Razan Al-Najjar, is a direct violation of all “international treaties and conventions” that ensure the protection of the medical staff in the conflict zones, Palestinian Minister of Health, Jawad Awwad, said late Friday, noting that the shooting of the paramedic must have been “deliberate” and amounted to a “war crime.”
The volunteer was shot in the chest by the Israeli Army on Friday near the border fence east of Khan Younes, in the southern Gaza Strip, while she was helping wounded Palestinians.
While the Israeli military has yet to comment on Najjar’s death, an anonymous witness told Reuters that, at the time of the tragedy, the medical worker wore a white uniform, which clearly distinguished her from the rest of the Palestinian crowd taking part in the 10th weekly Great March of Return protests.
Furthermore, the medical volunteer “raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired and she was hit in the chest,” the witness told Reuters.
Najjar became the latest victim of the Israeli crackdown on protesting Palestinians at the Gazan border. More than 100 protesters were injured by Israeli fire, including 40 by live bullets, directed at them by the IDF during the 10th Great March of Return rally. Another four paramedics were among those wounded while helping the injured.
The shooting of a medical worker is a “heinous crime committed by the occupation forces,” the Palestinian Minister of Justice, Ali Abu Diak, said in a statement, calling on the International Criminal Court to document Israeli brutality and to “try leaders, officials, officers, soldiers” and all those who committed “crimes against humanity.”
International humanitarian law affords special protection to medical personnel whose mission is to save lives in conflicts, under four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Article 24 was especially adopted to protect “medical personnel exclusively engaged in the search for, or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded or sick.”
Over 120 Palestinians have so far been killed since the beginning of the Great March of Return, mainly by live Israeli fire amid the raging protests at the Gaza-Israel border, which began on March 30. Thousands of others have been injured as Israel maintains its right to protect the border by all means necessary.