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    NY Times concludes Israel did not intentionally shoot medic Rouzan al-Najjar

    NY Times concludes Israel did not intentionally shoot medic Rouzan al-Najjar

    She was hit by a ricochet from a bullet that hit the ground several yards away. But you have to read deep down into the Times’ two articles to find that conclusion.

    Rouzan al-Najjar was a female Palestinian medic who died of a bullet wound during violent protests near the Gaza-Israel border.

    As we have documented dozens of times, those protests are organized and manipulated by Hamas and other terror groups, who plant their military members in the crowds under cover of burning tires. Dozens of Hamas and other terror members have been killed in the attempts to breach the border with the intent to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.

    The mainstream media and anti-Israel biased international media almost never focus on the terror-related nature of the protests, and the involvement (and death) of military members of terror groups.

    International media routinely accept and run with “facts” provided by Hamas-affiliated ministries and journalists. When a baby died, for example, the NY Times and other media accepted claims that Israeli tear gas was the culprit, but that turned out to be false.

    When al-Najjar was shot, the media reacted as it always does, accusing Israel of deliberately targeting a civilian non-combatant.

    This media bias is a key part of Hamas strategy, as the media usually has no information from Gaza other than what the Hamas-run health ministry or Hamas-controlled Gaza media operations provide. Israeli military information is discounted or disregarded.

    The NY Times undertook a massive investigation into al-Najjar’s shooting. While the Times indicates it simply wanted to get to the truth, there is little doubt that the Times hoped to find Israel guilty of deliberately shooting al-Najjar. The main story is
    A Day, a Life: When a Medic Was Killed in Gaza, Was It an Accident? with details on the investigation methodology in a separate post here.

    As Lenny Ben-David points out on Twitter, the resources the Times devoted to the investigation were extraordinary:

    The NYT’s indictment of #IDF is 5,500 words long & accompanied by 17 minute video! When was the last time NYT spent so many manhours & millions of $ on an investigation?

    Not since Warren Commission on JFK’s assassination have I seen such research, stopped frames, diagrams.

    Yet despite all those words, the investigation conclusion is almost buried in the headlines, diagrams, video and verbiage: Israel did not deliberately or directly shoot al-Najjar. She was hit by a ricochet of a bullet that fragmented hitting a total of three people.

    Here are the key quotes from the main Times article, several paragraphs into the article:

    The bullet that killed her, The Times found, was fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd that included white-coated medics in plain view. A detailed reconstruction, stitched together from hundreds of crowd-sourced videos and photographs, shows that neither the medics nor anyone around them posed any apparent threat of violence to Israeli personnel. Though Israel later admitted her killing was unintentional, the shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished.

    Notice how in that key paragraph, the first to introduce the Times’ conclusion, no mention is made of the ricochet. The paragraph makes it seem as if al-Najjar was deliberately and directly shot when Israel fired “into” a crowd that included medics. Only much later does the Times acknowledge that al-Najjar was not directly shot, the bullet did not go “into” the crowd, it struck the ground several yards away.

    You have to read deep down into the article, to find these details:

    Three medics down, all from one bullet. It seemed improbable.

    But The Times’s reconstruction confirmed it: The bullet hit the ground in front of the medics, then fragmented, part of it ricocheting upward and piercing Ms. Najjar’s chest.

    It was fired from a sand berm used by Israeli snipers at least 120 yards from where the medics fell.

    To get even more details, you need to go to the separate methodology article the Times ran, including that Israel did not fire at the medics, but rather, people near the medics, and that the bullet hit the ground “a few yards away from the medics, and ricocheted off the ground:

    What’s more, behind the target was a group of bystanders and medics in white coats. Former snipers in the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces told us that, without a backstop, it was a reckless shot to take.

    The bullet missed and hit the ground a few yards in front of the medics. Michael Knox, a forensic ballistics investigator, told us that the type of bullet used by the Israeli sniper could skim like a stone off the rocky soil. When it hits soil at a low angle, it pushes the soil ahead of it into a miniature ramp and projects itself up and out of the ground. Mohammed Shafee was hit in the torso with shrapnel. The bullet grazed Rami Abo Jazar’s thigh and continued its upward trajectory to pierce Rouzan just above her chest, severing her aorta.

    It is understandable that anti-Israel activists like James Zogby are upset that the facts of the investigation rebutted the narrative:

    This is indeed a massive rebuttal of the Palestinian and international de facto indictment of Israel in al-Najjar’s death, yet the Times goes out of its way just after those facts to still blame Israel based on tendacious claims it was “reckless” and that recklessness might still be a “war crime”:

    Though Israel claims Rouzan’s killing was unintentional, our investigation shows that her shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished.

    The Times set out to indict Israel, but instead indicted its own bias. The Times headline should have been: “Investigation clears Israel of accusations of intentionally shooting Palestinian medic.”

    Instead, we have an investigation that cleared Israel surrounded by arguments as to the difference between negligence and recklessness.


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    (Sigh) Just because it wasn’t premeditated murder does not mean taking the shot was a good idea. We shouldn’t knock down the murder allegations down so far that we ignore that it really wasn’t a sound decision. I could say a lot more, but it would detract from my main point.

      Arminius in reply to JBourque. | December 31, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      How do you know it wasn’t a sound decision? Wizardry? Just because this woman was killed by a ricochet doesn’t mean it was a bad decision on the soldier’s part. It does mean it was a bad decision on the medic’s part. It’s simple enough to avoid getting shot by the IDF. Here’s the secret to a long life. Don’t be in close proximity to bomb throwers, slingers, and arsonists launching incendiary-equipped balloons into Israel. 100% of Palestinians who didn’t rush the border fence but stayed in Gaza City or Khan Yunis didn’t get shot by Israeli soldiers.

      Human shields get shot. That’s entirely the fault of the person who makes the decision to be a human shield. And just how innocent was she? As I mentioned earlier, one of the war crimes Hamas routinely commits is they transport their noble fighters in Red Crescent ambulances. Seriously, what was she doing there? It’s entirely unnecessary for a medic to be in attendance at these assaults on Israel. If someone needs medical attention their friends can transport them to a hospital.

      It happens here in the US and it happens in Gaza every single day.

      I’m surprised that people fall for this BS propaganda.

      “When a baby died, for example, the NY Times and other media accepted claims that Israeli tear gas was the culprit, but that turned out to be false.”

      Such a tear jerker of a picture the NYT published! Those dastardly Jews, using tear gas on a baby.

      Of course, sane people looked at the picture and read the story and asked, what kind of crazy person brings an infant to an attack on the Israeli security fence? A Palestinian, that’s exactly the kind of crazy person who would do such a thing. Then, after killing their child the family turns on the water works and pretends to care the kid is dead.

      The soldier who unintentionally killed this woman most definitely did not commit a war crime. The medic might have, but it’s impossible to say given what little information we have. However, we do have enough information to say with certainty that Hamas committed war crimes that directly led to this woman getting killed. Per the Law Of Armed Conflict (LOAC) medical personnel and chaplains are accorded the status of non-combatant. Unless they take up arms or otherwise take an active role in hostilities. That changes their status to combatant, and then they become legitimate military targets.

      The LOAC is very clear. When terrorist groups like Hamas militarize what is normally considered an off-limits target it is not a war crime for any military to engage that target. The target might be a person, or it could be a building. Schools and religious establishments are not supposed to be targeted, for instance. But when Hamas stores weapons in UNRWA schools or Mosques or uses them as the Gazan terminus for attack tunnels into Israel it’s Hamas that has committed the war crime. It is therefore perfectly legitimate for the IDF to target said persons and buildings. In fact, Israel has the right under the LOAC to exact retribution since Hamas commits war crimes on a daily basis. Now that Israel has quit Gaza but the shooting war continues, as with all nations locked in combat with an illegitimate aggressor retribution is the only leverage Israel has left. There are rules that Israel would have to follow if they were to do so, such as announcing that they are going to retaliate against Hamas for their war crimes and stating their case for doing so. But when exacting retribution certain acts that might otherwise be considered war crimes become legal.

      Lost in all this is the fact that this woman is dead because Hamas failed to practice distinction. This is a war crime. Combatants are supposed to remain distinct from the civilian population. This includes wearing uniforms or some identifying mark such as badges of rank. They are also supposed to maintain physical separation. Hamas, on the other hand, hides among the civilian population. If they didn’t commit this particular war crime this medic would still be alive. Or she would be if she hadn’t made the choice to mingle with Hamas combatants.

      She is dead because she was stupid. It’s entirely her fault that she’s dead. Nobody is to blame but her.

    The ny times is completely corrupt. It is not ‘news’ any more than ACLU is a civil rights organization.

    Both are corrupt, apparatus of the left , who periodically – like the broken clock that’s right twice a day – cover their asses by printing the truth or advocating for non-Ginsburg-type Constitutional justice.

    How this got so far lies squarely in the lap of corrupt cowards like mcconnell, boehner, ryan, mccain, flake and the like.

    dfriedman613 | December 31, 2018 at 1:01 am

    One point – this was not a “protest” or even a “violent protest” as is stated here. This was a riot and an attack on Israel’s borders, performed with weapons, incendiary balloons, cross border incursions, etc. This was and is war and calling it a “protest” of any type is not accurate.

    “…The bullet that killed her, The Times found, was fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd that included white-coated medics in plain view…”

    The NYT wants to talk war crimes? Here’s some war crimes for you. Hamas uses Red Crescent ambulances as troop transports. They use schools and mosques as armories. When Israel calls innocent civilians, when they “knock on the roof,” to warn them to get out of the building, Hamas forces them back inside.

    Not exactly a war crime, though it definitely was a crime, was when the Saudi religious police forced a group of girls back inside their burning boarding school. Saudi firefighters and regular police fought the Mutaween, but the Mutaween prevailed and killed the girls. You see, they were unveiled. Which was permitted as it was an all girl school, and in the privacy of their school they didn’t need to be veiled. But when the school caught fire they didn’t have time to find their veils.

    Natch, the Mutaween couldn’t allow unveiled girls to escape the burning school, lest they corrupt the men responding to the blaze.

    The Mutaween earned their paycheck that day. I’m sure they were so proud.

    A brief aside. Jihad, we are told by Islamic apologists, is not warfare against the unbelievers. No, no no! It’s a spiritual warfare against your worse internal demons. Except, it doesn’t seem to be working out too well. How many tents do Muslims have to wrap their women up in before they stop lunging at them? You’d think after a lifetime of waging “jihad” against their internal demons they’d get a handle on their lusts.

    Just kidding. The Quran talks about Jihad a lot, and never once does it talk about an internal spiritual struggle. It’s always violent conflict with unbelievers.

    The Shafi’i guide to Islamic jurisprudence is known as “The Reliance of the Traveler” in English.

    Amusingly, Muslims refer to the internal spiritual struggle as the greater jihad, and the violence against unbelievers as the lesser jihad. But they hardly ever talk about the greater jihad. As I said, the Quran only talks about the violence against unbelievers. I provided a link to The Reliance of the Traveler. Look it up. There’s a half page devoted to the internal spiritual struggle. Then there are 11 pages devoted to warfare against unbelievers. How to divide the loot, etc.

    I’m reminded of probably the worlds first and best real estate marketers. The Nordics. This island? No, you don’t want to go there. It’s Iceland. Brrr! Greenland, now that’s where you want to go. It’s freaking green. Not at all icey.

    Why is this a front page story in the Times? People get shot and stabbed and have acid thrown in their faces all over the world but if an Arab is killed by an Israeli it is pictured in color at the top of the front page in the Times. The obvious reason is to promote their anti Israel radical left agenda.

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