Gaza Rose

by Ahmed Tharwat

The Palestinian Great March of Return, protesting the Nakba day better known in the west as Israeli independence day, a peaceful protest symbolically demanding the right of return to their homeland that was taking by force in the establishing of the Jewish state in 1948. In a few weeks of protests, The Israelis killed around 120 Palestinians and injured thousands more mostly by snipers.

Razan al Najjar, a Palestinian medic, every morning assures her Mum not to worry, that God is protecting her, but she wears protective vest in case. “My daughter would be out every Friday between 7am and 8pm. She was in the field doing her work, healing the wounds of the injured. My daughter was a brave paramedic who was never scared of the Israeli snipers,” Najjar’s mother said.  She was the eldest of six brothers and sisters, loved her job, she got her nursing diploma and she was eager to help and save innocent lives.

On Friday June 1st, she was busy that day on the killing field. People were falling everywhere. Israeli soldiers were shooting at protestors with impunity. Najjar rushed closer to the fence between Israel and Gaza. In a video you can see the 21 year old paramedic with her white dress, waving her hands to alert Israeli soldiers on the other side of the fence that she is a paramedic and only trying to help injured people.

An Israeli Sniper, looked through the fence, saw MS. Najjar, aimed and shot her. Razan al Najjar died from her wounds a few hours later.

The senseless barbaric death of this young Palestinian Medic, now known as Gaza Rose, has become the symbol of Palestinian’s resistance for more than 70 years. Razan al Najjar. We know her name, her family, her job, her age and her beautiful face. But as Haaretz explained “We may never know the name of the sniper who killed her.”

In Israel, Snipers aren’t just protected by their long range riffle and walls, they are importantly protected by an apartheid society and legal system. Israeli Snipers are never brought to justice. They are anonymous killers.

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, described the snipers as ‘coward, not heroes, killing people while hiding behind walls.’ We might know the name of the Sniper who killed Gaza Rose, But as Haaretz explained “we do know the names of those who gave the order enabling him/her to kill.”

Najjar is no longer with us. She cannot tell her story, her dreams. Whether she was fasting for Ramadan or not, she cannot answer her killer nor her accusers. What threat had Najjar presented to Israeli security? What crimes had she committed?

Najjar’s father Ashraf is holding the bloodied uniform she wore when she was shot. “My angel left this place, she is now in a better place. I will miss her so much. May your soul rest in peace my beautiful daughter,” he said.

“Here is her weapon! I want the world to know this is the weapon of Razan al-Najjar. Is this the ID of a terrorist?” Nazar al Najjar’s mother sadly asked while holding up her daughter’s medical ID that she wore at the time of her death.

Najjar’s story violated the Western self-righteous script. However, unlike Malala, her story upholds this narrative; a young oppressed Muslim woman shot by a Muslim jihadist for defending women’s rights in a backward Muslim world. Najjar was just doing her job, just trying to save lives of Palestinians who has been demonized and marginalized for years. She wasn’t as lucky. She wasn’t a victim of a foe or a victim of the Taliban. She didn’t fit the narrative of a Muslim woman oppressed by Muslim extremists.

She was killed by Jewish extremists.

For the American Media, Palestinians just die, they aren’t killed, The New York Times decried Najjar killing with a headline that showed a mysterious killing, that exonerated the sniper. “A Woman dedicated to saving lives loses hers in Gaza Violence.” She ‘lost’ her life. How and by whom is open for debate. Yet the killing of more than 100 people in a few days is described as “Gaza Violence.” The Wall Street Journal describe the massacre as “clashes” between Israelis and Palestinians. The number of Israeli killed was zero. Israeli weapons are tanks, F16’s, machine guns. The number of Palestinians killed so far is 120 and rising every day.

Palestinians are armed with rocks, slingshots and kites… and, and apparently white gowns and Medic IDs.

The Washington Post’s headline on the Gaza massacre is even worst “ Gaza buries its dead as death toll from protests at fence with Israel rises.”

“Buries its dead.” So who killed those people, as author Moustafa Bayoumi wondered in the Guardian “Are we to assume that the protests-and not the Israeli military killed these people?” Who is the sniper who killed Razan al-Najjar, Gaza Rose? Who is he? What does he look like? What was he thinking before he pulled the trigger? What did he say after he saw the beautiful 21 year old Gaza Rose fall?

Well…we’ll all have to wait for The movie, “The Israeli Sniper.” Because we won’t learn any other way.

Ahmed Tharwat View more

Ahmed Tharwat
Ahmed Tharwat is a TV Host and Producer. His show BelAhdan with Ahmed Tharwat airs on Minnesota Public Television Mondays at 10:30 p.m. You can find his blog In the middle at and on FaceBook, Twitter, Google, Plus, LinkedIn - @ahmediatv

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