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Gaza remembers Razan Najjar, nurse shot dead at Israel border

02.06.2018

Thousands of Palestinians have taken part in a funeral procession for a young female paramedic, who was shot dead at the Israeli border. Clashes have continued, with Israeli airstrikes and rockets from Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians, many dressed in white medical uniforms, took part on Saturday in the funeral of a nurse who was shot dead at the Israel-Gaza border.

Razan Najjar, 21, a volunteer paramedic, was shot by Israeli troops near Khan Yunis on Friday, prompting outrage in Gaza.

Her father held her white, blood-stained medics' jacket as ambulances and medical crews took part in the procession.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRC) said three other first responders were hit by Israeli fire on Friday and that Najjar was shot "as she was attempting to provide first aid to an injured protester."

"Shooting at medical personnel is a war crime under the Geneva conventions," the PMRC said in a statement. It called for "an immediate international response to Israeli humanitarian law violations in Gaza."

Clashes continued late Saturday, with Palestinian residents saying Israeli aircraft struck two militant sites in the Gaza Strip, hours after rockets were fired from the enclave at Israel. An Israeli military spokesman made no immediate comment.

The military had earlier said Gaza militants fired two rockets at Israel—one was shot down while the other fell short, with no immediate casualties reported.

Read more: 'General disregard' for Palestine, says UN coordinator in Gaza

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Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah targeted

The convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah of the West Bank-based Fatah group was targeted as he made a rare visit to Gaza on March 13. The Palestinian Authority said it held Hamas responsible, having failed to provide adequate security. Hamas claimed the attack was aimed at hurting efforts to achieve unity and reconciliation.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Land Day march

Some 30,000 Palestinians took part in the first of the demonstrations on March 30, marking Land Day, named for the 1976 Arab protests against Israeli plans to expropriate land. Some demonstrators ran at the border fence and 16 were killed by Israeli troops with others injured, and some dying later.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Netanyahu: 'We will hurt them'

Speaking on April 9 in the Israeli town of Sderot, near Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you — rise up and attack him. We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us. We will hurt them."

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Protesters injured

Palestinians ran to help a young man injured during the border protest on April 13. Stones had been thrown at border guards and the Israeli troops fired on the demonstrators. Some 45 Palestinians died and hundreds were injured between March 30 and April 27.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Boy killed on April 20

Protest continued on April 20th, with some Palestinian protesters using kites to transport Molotov cocktails and firebombs over the fence. Israeli snipers killed at least four more Palestinians on April 20th, including a 15-year-old boy. The UN Middle East envoy dubbed the killing "outrageous."

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
May 15: US Embassy officially moved to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv

US President Donald Trump's daugher Ivanka is part of the delegation that opened the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. The transfer of the embassy triggered a fresh wave of protests in which 62 people were killed. The deaths have considerably heightened tensions in the area.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
US no longer seen as partner in Middle East negotiations

As the US celebrated its embassy move from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, Palestinian protests escalated. The events coincided with the 70th anniversary of the foundation of modern-day Israel, and Nakba Day, when Palestinians recall those who fled or were expelled as Israel was established.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
More than 60 people were killed in protests

Palestinians carried away a protester injured on May 15th after demonstrations marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Palestinian youths run from tear gas

Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel said on Palestinian television that all but 12 of the dead were members of Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization is planning to pursue a war crimes complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Israeli airstrikes pound Hamas military targets in Gaza

Following an increase in cross-border violence in mid-July, Israel pounded Hamas military targets in Gaza, while Palestinian militants fired more than 170 rockets and mortars into Israel. Two Palestinian boys, aged 15 and 16, were killed in Israeli airstrikes, according to Gaza's health ministry. Three Israelis were injured after a rocket landed on a residential home in the Israeli city of Sderot.

How the Gaza protests against Israel escalated this year
Israel temporarily closes its Kerem Shalom cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip

Days later, Israel blocked all fuel and gas transfers through the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip for six days "in light of the continued terrorist attempts of Hamas." Israel's defense ministry said essential food and medicine deliveries would still get through. The crossing had been shuttered to commercial trade a week earlier.

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Further action

Some mourners on Saturday called for revenge and, after the funeral, dozens headed to the border fence and threw stones at Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian Health Ministry said five protesters had been wounded by Israeli fire in response.

Since March 30, Gazans have protested at the Israeli border, demanding the return of land taken during the 1948 war. About 120 people have been killed in recent weeks, with Israeli being roundly condemned for using excessive force.

The United Nations envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a tweet that "Israel needs to calibrate its use of force and Hamas need to prevent incidents at the fence."

Read more: 70 years of Nakba — The ongoing struggle of Palestinian refugees

The Israeli army said Saturday cases such as Najjar's "in which civilians are allegedly killed" by Israeli fire "are thoroughly examined" by an internal military committee.

The military said its troops operated "in accordance with standard operating procedures" and insisted that they only opened fire at instigators. It accused Hamas of using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks.

Hamas has organized the protests to draw attention to the decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory.

00:42 mins.
Middle East | 30.05.2018

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aw/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)