Mother of shot Gaza medic: ‘She thought the white coat would protect her’

Volunteer medics fear white-coat strategy is not working after death of Razan al-Najjar

Sabrine al-Najjar holds up the bloodied jacket her daughter, Razan al-Najjar, wore when she was shot by Israeli forces
 Sabrine al-Najjar holds up the bloodied jacket her daughter, Razan al-Najjar, wore when she was shot by Israeli forces. Photograph: Oliver Holmes

 Sabrine al-Najjar holds up her daughter’s identity card. Photograph: Oliver Holmes

And Israeli military and government officials have sought to discredit al-Najjar, accusing her of helping “terrorists”. On Thursday, a spokesman for the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, shared a video with accompanying text asking: “Was Razan al-Najjar just a medic?”

Sabrine believes her daughter was targeted. She held up Razan’s jacket, which was once white but it now brownish with dried blood. “Palestinian Medical Relief Society” is written on the back and a small bullet hole is visible.

“This [jacket] was the weapon she had,” said Sabrine sarcastically. “This was her terrorist badge,” she said, showing her daughter’s medical ID. “These were her explosives,” she adds, pulling out bandages Razan kept in her pockets.

“She was close enough to talk to the soldiers. Does she look like a terrorist?”

Israeli forces have killed 120 Palestinians during the recent violence, Palestinian health officials say. More than 3,600 have been shot with live ammunition, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of casualties have been unarmed, with journalists and teenagers among the dead.

Protests have focused on lifting a decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory and residents have demanded a right of return for Palestinian refugee families to ancestral homes in Israel.

In Khuza’a, streets and shops are filled with references of displacement. Along one road, there is a “Factory of Return”, a “Bakery of Return”, a “Coffee of Return”.

Al-Najjar’s killing has reverberated through the community. On Monday, Israeli forces shot and killed a relative as he tried to cut through the metal fence. “He wanted to retaliate for Razan,” said a resident. “He planned to throw stones at [an Israeli army] jeep and set tyres on fire on the Israeli side.”

Protests continue where al-Najjar used to work. Israeli fields burn in the distance and a group of Palestinian teenagers with scarves wrapped around their heads move cautiously forward, wire cutters in hand. A woman with her leg bandaged hobbles along.

Palestinian political factions have sought to involve themselves in the national grief over al-Najjar. A large poster at the protest camp shows her face next to an image of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Her mother sits surrounded by posters from other political parties as well as medical charities that want to express their condolences.

“She thought the white coat would protect her,” she said, clasping the jacket. “The whole world knows what it means.”

One comment

  1. The darkest face of humanity ever… no question… how many more mothers will mourn their sons and daughters unlawful killing before the Beast is put in its place. What sort of a shock will wake up humanity. What will make perpetrators of such brutality see their end?

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