JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands attended the funeral of a female Palestinian volunteer medic who was killed during protests near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Razan Najjar, 21, was killed as evening fell on Friday as thousands of Palestinians converged in five places along the border. In addition to throwing rocks and burning tires, protesters sent explosive kites over the fence, burning hundreds of acres of fields in southern Israel. Protesters also fired on an Israeli military vehicle and planted explosives along the fence meant to detonate on Israeli soldiers, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The IDF said in a statement that it responded with “riot dispersal means” and operated “in accordance with the rules of engagement.” It said it would investigate Najjar’s death.
Ibrahim al-Najjar, 30, a relative of the killed medic, told the New York Times that Raza Najjar ran close to the fence care for a protester who had been hit in the head by a tear-gas canister, and was shot as she cared for him. She was wearing a white medical coat.
The Gaza Health Ministry told reporters that Najjar and other medics all wearing white medical coats walked together toward the fence with their arms raised to evacuate the injured protesters when she was shot.
Najjar was the only person killed on Friday, bringing the total during ten weeks of rioting to 118, with about half of those killed on May 14.
She was interviewed by the New York Times last month, telling its reporter that “Being a medic is not only a job for a man, it’s for women too.”
She also said: “We have one goal, to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: Without weapons, we can do anything.”
Israeli-Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi from the Joint List Party on Saturday called Najjar’s killing “a despicable war crime committed by a cowardly and criminal sniper who saw a nurse with a white coat and pulled the trigger.”
He also said that the United States and its envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who on Friday vetoed a Kuwaiti-sponsored Security Council resolution calling for “international protection” for the Palestinians, bore responsibility for Najjar’s death, Haaretz reported.