Investigative journalism, when done well, can really make changes and I’m hopeful the latest efforts by the New York Times will bear fruit.
A team of its journalists have forensically investigated the death in May of the heroic Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar and come to the conclusion that Israeli snipers, firing into unarmed crowds of civilians are at best being reckless and at worst committing war crimes.
The team froze in time the very moment Razan, 21, was shot and pulled in every camera, video and stills at the time to build up a picture of what happened. So convincing is their work that the Israeli military has now re-launched another probe into the killing.
From the evidence, the NYT has gathered it was clear Razan was with a group of people who presented absolutely no threat on the Gaza border that day. The reality is Israeli snipers fired into the crowds who were embroiled in nothing more than peaceful resistance.
Razan, wearing a white medic’s coat like two of her colleagues nearby, was helping to tend the wounded in the ongoing Great March of Return. It is one of the most powerful forms of peaceful resistance I’ve witnessed in Palestine and while nearly 200 innocents have paid the blood price, I don’t think their efforts are in vain.
More than 25,000 other Palestinians living in Gaza have also been wounded by Israeli snipers ever since the peaceful resistance began on March 30 2018. It was an initiative started by a variety of civilian groups and did not include Hamas.
As I’ve said before when people move in masses it is powerful and can produce powerful results. The sensible thing to do would, of course, be to sit down with the Palestinians to try and resolve the situation but Israel’s only response to date has been the use of battlefield weapons on civilians.
How long will this continue is anyone’s guess. Only the international community can stop the carnage now. The Palestinians have no military weapons to respond to Israel but the one thing they’re not short of is guts and courage.
Razan became a living legend during the weekly marches in which Palestinians are demanding the right to return to the lands stolen from them at the point of a gun. She was beautiful, strong, outspoken and compassionate and a lightning rod to the international media present.
On the day she died she removed a cast from her arm which had been fractured by an Israeli bullet some weeks earlier so that she could resume her duties as a paramedic.
Please don’t let her death be in vain. Read the NYT story and then contact your politicians and ask them to put pressure on the United Nations to launch an independent inquiry into why the fourth largest army in the world is using battlefield weapons to stop peaceful resistance.
Razan paid with her life for justice, all we have to do is send an email or a letter.
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