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Israeli army says the killing of Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar was ‘just an accident’

Israel/Palestine
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“Israeli soldiers did not fire directly at Razan al-Najjar, a Palestinian medic who was killed on Friday during protests on the Gaza border, a preliminary military investigation found”, Yaniv Kubovich reports for Haaretz.

The probe is not concluded, it is only in its early stages. Yet they can already tell us about this unequivocal finding. It was an accident. From Haaretz:

“The probe was based primarily on interviews with soldiers who were on the scene. As part of the inquiry, which the military said hasn’t concluded yet, the military examined who opened fire during the event and how much ammunition was used. The investigation found the soldiers opened fire at other demonstrators, and not directly at Najjar.”

Here is the tweet from the Israeli Defense Forces.

Now, why should we not believe this? The “most moral army in the world” said it, that couldn’t possibly be wrong, right?

(Cartoon: Carlos Latuff)

Well you don’t have to go far back in time to understand why Israeli army investigations have a huge credibility problem.

The case of the Samir Awad

This week, in the case of the 2013 killing of 16-year-old Samir Awad of Budrus when he posed absolutely no danger (8 bullets in the back, including one to the head), the state prosecution decided to drop the charges earlier this week, charges that had been watered down to “negligence”.

As John Brown notes in the detailed account (Hebrew, Haaretz ), the investigation proved to be full of lies. First the force claimed to not have used live fire at all, but only means for dispersing stone-throwing demonstrations. Except that stones were not even thrown there. After it became clear that the boy died of his wounds, the version was changed into them shooting non-lethal warning shots and that Samir merely fell and died of his fall. When it was revealed from the autopsy that Samir had died from a bullet to the head, the version was changed into one wherein Samir supposedly posed a lethal threat to the lives of the soldiers. In the end, the forensic examination was so sloppy, that it could not be determined which of two soldiers fired the lethal shot.

It took a whole lot of effort to get to indictment, with the help of B’Tselem, and it ended only with a charge of “negligence”, but even that was dropped. The defense’s threat to open up the can of worms regarding many other cases was apparently too serious a threat for the state. (The defense had said that mere indictment in this case would be discriminatory, since they could show 110 other cases, some even more egregious, and only 3 resulted in indictment, including the Elor Azarya and Ben Deri cases that were filmed and publicized).

Israeli legal human rights organization Yesh Din said in a statement issued in response:

“The prosecutor’s announcement of the cancellation of the indictments against the two soldiers involved in the killing of the youth Samir Awad constitutes another example of the impunity enjoyed by soldiers who wound Palestinians.”

“The bottom line is that the military system protects soldiers who violate the law and wound Palestinians, while leaving Palestinians defenseless.”

Gaby Lasky, a lawyer who represents the Awad family, commented:

“[The decision to withdraw the charges was] another case of whitewashing the killing of Palestinians. A teenager was shot in the head with his back to the soldiers on his way to the village where he lives. There are no legal orders that permit shooting at the upper body under such circumstances, in which there is no danger to the lives of the soldiers or other people and no danger whatsoever. If there are rules of engagement that permit such shooting, then those rules themselves are illegal.”

“Falling off a bike”

In the case of the December 2017 shooting in the head of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi (Ahed’s cousin), who miraculously survived, an Israeli general seriously claimed that Mohammed’s injury was simply due to his falling off his bike.

Major General Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), claimed on a Facebook post that Mohammed was not hit by a bullet, but rather fell from his bicycle. Mordechai is the highest direct authority of the Israeli occupation, and he wrote this on the COGAT official Arabic Facebook page. “A culture of lies and incitement continues for young people and adults in the Tamimi family”, he wrote. The post was plastered with a red stamp saying “fake news” in Arabic. This ran against forensic evidence, of which there was no lack of. The army had simply managed to extract a “confession” from Mohammed, obtained under the usual criminal duress. There is no shame here.

Assumption of innocence

Israelis seem to love this assumption of innocence when it regards soldiers. The myth of the “most moral army in the world” is so addictive, that there is a reflexive proneness to believe anything that may confirm it, and to assume this innocence in advance. As I had mentioned two days ago, this assumption even comes from prominent Haaretz journalists, as in the actual case of Razan al-Najar. Asaf Ronel of Haaretz simply assumed that “it’s unlikely that a sniper deliberately killed Razan al-Najjar” – with absolutely no evidence to back it. Such assumptions are so common in Israel that they are hardly noticed anymore.

It is extremely rare that Israeli military cases involving killings actually get to indictment, and it usually requires an actual close-up filming of the event (with the shooter and the victim) to qualify it for some sort of indictment (as in the Azarya case), or sometimes extreme legal pressure from organizations and also international pressure, as in the case of the killing of British photographer and human rights activist Tom Hurndall in Gaza, 2004 (see on that in the link above re. Azarya).

Should we thus take the army by the word, and assume that the soldiers simply killed Razan al-Najjar by accident? That would be an extremely irresponsible thing to do. The army proclamation of innocence is meant for those who are already Hasbara-junkies, those who already believe the “most moral army” in advance. Because Israeli soldiers “are not murderers”.

H/t Hala Gabriel, Nasser Butt

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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20 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    June 6, 2018, 12:52 pm

    Rachel Corrie wasnt intentional either. Neither was Tom Hurndall. In reality anyone who helps Gaza is a valid Israeli target . Pour encourager les autres.

  2. Kay24
    June 6, 2018, 12:59 pm

    Isn’t it strange that despite all the bragging you hear from apologists, that the IDF are experts, and very skilled, that they make so many “mistakes” and seem very inept?

    Even the USS Liberty was a “mistake”.

    Who the heck do they think they are fooling? Oh yes I forgot, that would be the US Congress.

    • inbound39
      June 7, 2018, 7:40 pm

      Given the number of mistakes they say they have made since the Liberty up to the present day,any other nation would order a governmental investigation to get to the bottom of the massive incompetence the military is showing . World leaders should demand Israel not undertake any military action and no more weapons sold to Israel until it recieves a certificate of competence from the International Blitzkreig society. Their excuses are getting beyond stupid. The Most Incompetent Army in the World.

  3. Maghlawatan
    June 6, 2018, 3:28 pm

    I have seen enough pictures of Israelis in plastic chairs watching Gaza having the shit bombed out of it to know that the Israeli army does not give a rat’s ass about Gazan life.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/725c72a4-14ee-11de-8cd1-0000779fd2ac.html
    “I felt there was a lot of thirst for blood,” one soldier is quoted as saying. “This is the beauty of Gaza. You see a person walking down a street or path; he does not have to be with a weapon. You just have to see him with something, and you shoot him.”
    He also described an incident in which a platoon commander ordered the shooting of a woman who was crossing a street close to a house used by Israeli forces: “Suspicious, not suspicious, I don’t know her story. what he did in the end was get the men on the roof and take her out. From that story, I felt it was cold-blooded murder.”

  4. lonely rico
    June 6, 2018, 11:30 pm

    Israeli soldiers did not fire directly at Razan al-Najjar, a Palestinian medic who was killed on Friday during protests on the Gaza border, a preliminary military investigation found

    Hamas operatives, anti-Semites all,
    wish to see the end of the State of Israel,
    wish drive the Jews into the sea …
    they deflected the bullets
    (fired in self defense),
    deflected onto this young woman.

    Grievous injuries
    (every death a tragedy).
    She would have been alive today,
    if only she had been smart enough to be a Zionist.

    Preliminary military investigation discovers
    Another victim of Hamas.

    • inbound39
      June 7, 2018, 7:45 pm

      The Israeli’s forget at moments like this that they funded and armed Hamas to take down Fatah and Arafat. So in other words their self made problem has bitten them in the butt. Freedom has a much better addictive quality for human beings than confinement and eradication.

  5. Marnie
    June 7, 2018, 2:10 am

    Have to find out of the iof gives pay bonuses for murder, like the u.s. used to pay a bounty for scalps.

  6. Ampro
    June 7, 2018, 8:36 am

    Israel never lies, they give the world the benefit of alternate truth.

  7. Jacob Hamburger
    June 7, 2018, 8:44 am

    We can do with just one Examination, i.e. examining why all others examinations so far failed so utterly to produce even the slightest form of justice.

  8. Terry Heaton
    June 7, 2018, 8:50 am

    If this excuse is to be believed, then either the Israeli snipers are lousy marksmen (they’re not), or they fired indiscriminately into a crowd, which elevates the event to murderous terrorism.

    • Kathleen
      June 7, 2018, 9:50 am

      No one believes these endless excuses for killing innocent people that Israel has put forward for decades. They have a whole dept set up to spin these murders and massacres away.

      Massacre of Palestinians for decades. Attacks on UN sites, schools, homes, killing of journalist and others who stand with the Palestinians. Many UN reports, ICC reports etc

      U.S. media used to be their front line for hasbara. That is changing however the crimes against humanity persist without accountability even though there is more visibility.

      http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/middle_east/Gaza_Flotilla_Panel_Report.pdf

      International community has been calling them out for years.

    • Misterioso
      June 7, 2018, 10:31 am

      @Terry Heaton

      They are thoroughly indoctrinated (from childhood) racists, fascists and neo-Nazis. Zionism has created a monster between the River and the Sea, but it will not survive.

    • Marnie
      June 7, 2018, 11:31 am

      Bingo!!!

  9. biggerjake
    June 7, 2018, 11:01 am

    I have a five-part solution to this problem:

    1. The US must stop all aid to Israel

    2. Instead, the US should give the Palestinians 4 billion dollars every year.

    3. The US Navy should send an attack fleet into the Mediterranean and break the Gaza blockade and “accidently” drop a few missiles on all of the illegal settlements and the Israeli nuclear facilities… and maybe a couple on Tel Aviv for good measure. They would also send bombers and fighter jets to destroy the Israeli air force and navy.

    4. The Army Corp of Engineers should rebuild the airports, power stations and water treatment facilities in Palestine

    5. US Marines should arrest Netanyahu and take him to Guantanamo as a war criminal. His military tribunal would be scheduled for 2030…

    • Misterioso
      June 7, 2018, 3:34 pm

      @biggerjake

      Sooner or later all nations must act in their own best interests and the U.S. will not be an exception. As surely as Britain set Rhodesia adrift, France ended its colonization of Algeria and Belgium abandoned its colony in the Congo, so will America end its “special relationship” with the entity known as “Israel.”

      • inbound39
        June 7, 2018, 7:54 pm

        The cost of the Special Relationship to America is far to great and cannot be justified under any circumstance anymore. Israel has destroyed all American Status and credibility.

  10. captADKer
    June 7, 2018, 9:44 pm

    unintentionally shot by or while shielding Hamas terrorists?

    https://mobile.twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1004671844501385216/video/1

    • Citizen
      June 8, 2018, 12:07 am

      Here is the full unedited video: (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHBHCBbU5tg) youtube.com/watch?v=SHBHCB…
      This is what she really said before the zionists cut the video:
      “I am the medic Razan al-Najjar, I’m here on the frontlines, a human shield to protect & save the injured”

  11. Marnie
    June 7, 2018, 11:52 pm

    Of course! It was only a matter of (very short) time before the IOF finally got their lie straight. It’s soooo embarrassing for netanyahoo! He’s wrapped up his worldwind “I wanna bomb Iran – who’s with me” european tour, which has not gone quite as planned, what with all the direct and indirect questions about ‘Gaza deaths’ and all. And things were going so well too, baroque thesham, but seems netanyahoo’s hit another bump in the road; must have been another one of those palestinian terrorists who threw himself under the wheel, they’re always choosing to get run over or bleed to death instead of pacing their deaths a bit better and controlling their arterial bleeds better until that time they might be taken to a hospital. It’s just that Khamas wants them dead. We don’t! We just can’t figure out a way not to keep killing them and if we can’t figure that out, as brilliant as everyone knows we are, then it’s because killing palestinians is the only solution there is.

    Israeli Army: Video Shows Killed Gaza Medic Throwing Gas Canister

    ‘Razan al-Najjar is not the angel of mercy that Hamas propaganda attempts to portray,’ IDF Arabic-language army spokesman tweets
    Yaniv Kubovich | 
    Jun 07, 2018 3:10 PM

    “The Israeli military released a video Thursday showing a Palestinian volunteer medic who was killed on Friday in Gaza border clashes with the army, throwing a gas canister at the demonstration.

    In the video, Razan al-Najjar is seen in a white coat throwing the grenade with her face partially covered by a mask.

    “Razan al-Najjar is not the angel of mercy that Hamas propaganda attempts to portray,” Arabic-language army spokesman Avichay Edraee tweeted, in reference to Najjar, whom authorities in Gaza accuse Israeli forces of killing. “Her admission that she is a ‘human shield’ for the inciting rioters proves how Hamas uses the entire Gaza population as ammunition for its aims and for Iran’s aims,” Edraee wrote. “Do medical personnel around the world throw bombs and participate in disturbances and call themselves human shields?”

    The question that should be asked is are medical personnel around the world routinely singled out for execution while attending to wounded, unarmed protesters?

  12. PeaceAddict
    June 8, 2018, 8:53 pm

    I have now seen it all in my lifetime. A once victimized people now victimizing another despondent and voiceless people, with glee. Only this time, the world sits with arms folded because they are the other kind. I feel a sense of utter distaste and repugnance belonging to the human race. A long time follower of the Holy scriptures, I hope it is now true, that when I pass on from this life, there will be nothing of me. Just a living being that stopped breathing, everything going just blank. No heaven, no hell, no reincarnation. I want nothing to do with where humans supposedly go in the afterlife.

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