Days of Palestine

Tuesday, March 21

Too Worn Out to Suppress a Tear, Sabreen al-Najjar Recalls Her Paramedic Daughter Razan Killed by Israel

M.Y | DOP -

Beginning on 30 March 2018, the Great March of Return protests were held along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from occupied territories, demanding the return of Palestinians to the homes they were expelled from in 1948 that now lie under Israeli occupation rule.

That protest was the 10th Friday demonstration held by Palestinians since March 30 near the fence. Sabreen’s daughter, 21-year-old Razan, had been in all of them, volunteering as a paramedic to help those shot by Israeli snipers.

“She stood up and smiled at me, saying she was heading out to the protest,” 43-year-old Razan’s mother Sabreen Najjar spoke to Act For Palestine in a Zoom channel interview in Gaza City.

Najjar, who for 10 weeks had been treating those wounded by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return mass demonstrations, was shot in the chest during the protest.

“In a blink of an eye, she was out of the door. I ran to the balcony to watch her outside but she had already made her way to the end of the street,” Sabreen said on Wednesday, recalling the miasma of death and sorrow she lives for her daughter’s killing.

“She flew like a bird in front of me.”

At the protest site in Khuza’a, witnesses said that Razan approached the fence wearing her medic’s vest and with both of her arms raised to show the Israeli soldiers a 100 yards away that she posed no threat.

Sorrow, heartache, and tears then filled the Khuzaa neighborhood of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip in 2018, as Palestinians mourned the death of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old paramedic killed by Israeli fire.

“Razan’s intention was to evacuate a wounded protester lying on the other side of the fence, after he had managed to cut a hole through it. Instead, my daughter was shot in her chest with live ammunition, the single bullet escaping through a hole in the back of her vest.”

She became the 119th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the popular protests began calling for the Palestinians’ right of return to the homes from which they were expelled from in 1948. More than 13,000 others have been wounded.

“Then a sniper fired a single shot, which hit Razan directly. The fragments of the bullet wounded three other members of our team.

“Razan at first didn’t realize she had been shot, but then she started crying out, ‘My back, my back!’ and then she fell on the ground.

“It was clear from her uniform, vest, and medical bags, who they were,” she added. “There were no other protesters around, it was just them [the paramdeics].”

“My daughter did humanitarian work and she was killed for it”

In an interview with Act For Palestine on June 8, Razan’s mother, Sabrin Al Najjar, said that she felt it was her daughter’s “duty and responsibility” to be present at the protests and help the wounded.

“Razan had one goal –  to save lives and evacuate [wounded] people,” she said. “She and her colleagues did this for their country,” she continued, adding that “it was humanitarian work.”

“My daughter would be out every Friday between 7am and 8pm. She was in the field doing her work, healing the wounds of the injured, and my daughter was a brave paramedic who was never scared of the Israeli snipers,” Najjar’s mother said.

Known as the “butterfly bullet”, it explodes upon impact, pulverizing tissue, arteries, and bone, while causing severe internal injuries.

“My daughter was a target for the Israeli snipers. The explosive bullet was directly shot in her chest; it was not a random bullet.”

“She was deliberately and directly killed by an explosive bullet, which is illegal under international law,” Sabreen said.

“They [the Israelis] know Razan, they know she is a paramedic, she has been helping treat wounds since 30 March,” Sabreen, the paramedic’s mother, told Act For Palestie, speaking with tears in her eyes.

“I demand a UN investigation so that the murderer will be tried and convicted,” she said, describing the Israeli soldiers as “brutal and unforgiving”.

Sabreen then went quiet. When she spoke again, her words expressed tones of melancholy and heartbreak.

“I wish I could have seen her in her white wedding dress, not her shroud,” Sabrin said.

According to the Gazan health ministry, 223 paramedics were injured during the demonstrations, and Israeli forces have also targeted 37 ambulances.

The ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf al-Qedra, condemned Najjar’s killing and called on the international community to intervene and stop the killing of Palestinian protesters, civilians, paramedics, and journalists.

As a final epilogue of the interview, Saber Eleyan, Executive Manager of Act For Palestine Association called on the international community to hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for the crimes the army commits against social workers, healthcare servants, and all varieties of the Palestinian people enduring the inhumane occupation rule.