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21-year-old paramedic Razan al-Najjar who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers has become the new icon of Palestinian resistance
In 1948, the Zionist militia ethnically cleansed more 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages. Since then much blood had been spilled and almost greater part of Palestine has been captured by Israel.

The world is condoning the violations of UN resolutions by Israel and Arabs have finally recapitulated before Israel's might. Iran is the only Muslim country that is supporting the poor Palestinians with all the resources available at its disposal. Turkey often makes some noises against Israeli actions but they are just to hoodwink the Muslim world and Arabs.

There were times when India was the leader of non-aligned countries and there was no contradiction between human rights and national interests. Mahatma Gandhi had opined - "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.  

In the same article titled 'The Jews' published in Harijan (1938), Gandhi wrote: "The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me… The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs."

It was ironic that when the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to India recently, he was taken to Gujarat on a visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram. Gandhi had always opposed the establishment of Israel or the forcible settlement of Jews there without the consent of the Arabs, who were long settled there.

Let us recall the one of the greatest statesmen of the modern world, President Nelson Mandela. He and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat were "comrades in arms" and jointly supported their struggle against the Israeli state. This strategic and humanistic friendship was highlighted by Nelson Mandela just sixteen days after he was released from 27-long-years in prison in 1990.

In February 1990, Mandela met with Yasser Arafat at Lusaka in Zambia. At the Lusaka airport, Mandela embraced Arafat and reiterated his support for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian struggle telling the media that Arafat was "fighting against a unique form of colonialism and we wish him success in his struggle". He went on to say, "I believe that there are many similarities between our struggle and that of the PLO" stating "We live under a unique form of colonialism in South Africa, as well as in Israel, and a lot flows from that."

The wheel has come to full circle. Today, Gaza is like a war zone where its population continues to be isolated, its economy devastated and impoverished. There are 60 per cent of youth without jobs and there is neither adequate electricity nor health services. Aid organisations say around 90 per cent of Gaza's water is not safe to drink. Raw sewage is pumped directly into the sea because there is not enough electricity to power the sewage.

Palestinians want to go back to their home. Since 70 years these Palestinians have been expelled from their homes, faced destruction of their lands and lives. In their own land they are now Refugees, segregated second class citizens or trapped behind Israel's illegal walls laying siege on them and their cities.

Recently, Gaza's Hamas rulers had called for a mass rally at the border as part of a week-long campaign of protests against a decade-old blockade of the territory. In the small strip of Gaza, the pickup trucks and motorized rickshaws busily ferried the protestors toward the border fence with Israel. This major protest witnessed conflict's worst single day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war as tens of thousands of demonstrators, including women and children, gathered at multiple sites along the security fence with Israel, calling for Palestinians to be allowed to return to the land that their ancestors fled from in the 1948 War of Independence. It was dubbed the "March of Return."

To help and rescue the victims of Israel's brutal fire, the Gaza's medics geared up. They wear white jackets with reflective, high-visibility stripes. They raise their hands above their heads and move slowly and deliberately towards casualties past plumes of white teargas smoke. As they approach the metal fence, they come within speaking distance of troops on the other side. They scream out in unison: "Don't shoot. There are wounded."

There is no way that anyone might misidentify them in Gaza's open fields. However, Razan al-Najjar, a paramedic who took all the precautions was still killed by a bullet in her chest last Friday. The 21-year-old was the second medic to be killed in a 10-week Palestinian demonstration movement, and 25 others have been hit with live fire, according to Gaza's ministry of health. She and four others had gone to rescue a man smashed in the face with a teargas canister 20 metres from the perimeter.

Najjar met with her death as three shots were heard. A photograph taken shortly afterwards shows men carrying al-Najjar's body with her lifeless hands in surgical gloves.

Leading up to her death, al-Najjar had become an icon in Gaza, with dozens of images published online of the woman who wore colourful headscarves with a resolute expression on her face.

"I'm here at the frontline as a human shield and rescuer for the injured," she had said in an interview.

Her teenage years were scarred by war. She was still a child when the 2008 war broke out. "Razan did not like to see suffering," said her mother, Sabrine, sitting among grieving relatives in her living room. "We have experienced too many wars. She wanted to be able to help."

Her father is an unemployed motorbike mechanic.

Israel accuses Hamas, which rules Gaza and backs the rallies, of using demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks. Kites rigged with flaming cans of petrol have been flown into Israel to torch agricultural fields, and explosives have damaged the fence.

Sabrine believes her daughter was targeted. She held up Razan's jacket, which was once white but it now brownish with dried blood. "Palestinian Medical Relief Society" is written on the back and a small bullet hole is visible.

On record, Israeli forces have killed 120 Palestinians during the recent violence, Palestinian health officials say. More than 3,600 have been shot with live ammunition, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of casualties have been unarmed, with journalists and teenagers among the dead.

"She thought the white coat would protect her," her mother said, clasping the jacket. "The whole world knows what it means."

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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