NYT: Killing of Palestinian medic ‘reckless at best, possibly a war crime’

A video released by the IDF in June appears to show Razan Najjar throwing a smoke grenade into an open area and announcing that she is offering herself as a human shield.

By ALON EINHORN
December 30, 2018 16:06
1 minute read.
A relative mourns during the funeral of Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najar.

A relative mourns during the funeral of Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najar, who according to health officials and a witness was killed by Israeli forces as she tried to help a wounded protester at the Gaza border, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip June 2, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

 
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The death of Razan Najjar, a Palestinian medic shot by IDF fire in June, was a reckless shooting that could possibly be regarded as a war crime, according to a New York Times investigation published on Sunday.

According to the report, Najjar was killed by an Israeli sniper even though she did not pose a threat to the forces or offer herself as human shield, as the IDF had previously claimed.

A video released by the IDF in June appears to show Najjar throwing a smoke grenade into an open area and announcing that she is offering herself as a human shield, which the Times called “a tendentiously edited video.”

The Times investigation was done by reconstructing the scene of the border protest and by analyzing countless videos and photographs taken by participants in the protest. The newspaper also took drone footage of the field where the protest took place and worked with the research agency Forensic Architecture to create a 3D model. It then froze the moment when Najjar was hit and retraced the path of the bullet to a group of IDF snipers located some 120 yards away.

“Neither the medics nor anyone around them posed any apparent threat of violence to Israeli personnel,” the report stated. “The shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished. No one in the area is doing anything menacing. The tear gas is doing what it is meant to: making the use of lethal force unnecessary.”

The report described the scene seconds before Najjar was shot.


“To deliberately shoot a medic, or any civilian, is a war crime,” The Times report concluded. “Israel quickly conceded that Ms. Najjar’s killing was unintended.”

The report quoted IDF Spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Cornicus who said that Najjar was not the target but that mistakes do occur during armed clashes.

“Unfortunately, yes,” Conricus told The Times, “in a situation like that, accidents happen, and unintended results happen.”

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