Introduction – March 27, 2019
Last June Israeli snipers shot and killed Palestinian media Razan al-Najjar, even though she was wearing a white jacket that obviously distinguished her as a medic. Subsequently two more Palestinian medics were wounded by Israeli fire at what was reportedly a “peaceful demonstration”.
This leads one to wonder: are Israeli forces deliberately targeting medical personnel?
We would suggest that they are.
A report published in the wake of al-Najjar’s death concluded that the IDF were indeed deliberately targeting Palestinian medical personnel. This latest incident only adds weight to that finding. Ed.
Israeli soldiers kill teenage Palestinian medic near Bethlehem
Oliver Holmes in the West Bank — The Guardian March 27, 2019
Israeli soldiers shot dead a teenage Palestinian medic in the occupied West Bank, his colleagues and the Palestinian health ministry have said.
Sajid Muzher, 17, was killed at the Dheisheh refugee camp next to Bethlehem, the ministry said in a statement. Early on Wednesday morning, Israeli troops had entered the area, leading to a confrontation with residents, who threw stones. Medical teams had rushed in to provide first aid.
“The killing by the Occupation of the volunteer paramedic with live bullets in the stomach is a war crime,” the Palestinian health minister Jawad Awad said, in reference to Israel.
Muzher had worked for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, which later said he was shot while attempting to treat one of those wounded by Israeli fire. He died of his injuries in hospital and was buried on Wednesday afternoon.
Ahmed Gharib, 23, another first responder, said he was working alongside Muzher when he was hit. “It was 6am exactly,” he said at the funeral tent in Dheisheh, still wearing his bright orange medic vest, with tape and bandages in the pockets. Muzher had also been wearing his high-visibility clothing, he said.
“There were clashes, people were throwing stones, and four had been wounded. He ran to help someone and got shot,” he said. “I was right behind him. He thought he had been hit in the leg. But there was no blood because it was the abdomen.”
The Israeli military said in a statement that a “violent riot” was instigated during operation activity. “Dozens of rioters hurled blocks and firebombs at the troops, who responded with riot dispersal means,” it said, without saying whether live fire was used. “A report was received regarding an injured Palestinian,” it added.
Israeli forces, which have occupied the West Bank for more than half a century, regularly enter refugee camps to carry out raids and arrests. Residents block their way and throw rocks, sparking clashes.
Gerald Rockenschaub, the head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) office for the West Bank and Gaza, condemned the killing.
WHO strongly condemns the killing of Sajed Mazher, a first responder working with PMRS in the #WestBank.
The protection of health workers, patients and health facilities must be respected at all times.
— WHO in occupied Palestinian territory (@WHOoPt1) March 27, 2019
“We are saddened by this tragic loss. Health workers provide critical care and save lives. Their protection must be ensured,” he said in a statement. The WHO said Muzher was 18, not 17, as reported by the ministry.
Dheisheh was established for Palestinian families who either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. It has since become a sprawling neighbourhood with multistorey residential buildings.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report