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:
I am horrified by this @nytimes whitewash of the murder of #Razan – 20 yr old Palestinian medic murder by Israeli sniper in July. Israeli closes story w/ “accidents happen”. Not an accident when you shoot into a crowd from 120 yards away. It’s murder. https://t.co/rFz4rWAfEJ
— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) December 30, 2018
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.”
Independent investigation finds that a wayward bullet fired by a soldier at the ground ricocheted up, hitting a medic in Gaza and tragically killing her.
Yet somehow the @NYTimes headline casts doubt and insinuates possible intent by the IDF, asking "Was it an accident?" pic.twitter.com/njrPG18Jh3
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 30, 2018
Instead, we have an investigation that cleared Israel surrounded by arguments as to the difference between negligence and recklessness.
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This is where the Times is devoting its reporting resources and energy, in the Middle East — towards “investigating” transparently fallacious Arab propaganda narratives?
Contemptible, simply contemptible. How about an in-depth exposé on the tens of billions of dollars of international aid that the utterly corrupt Fatah and Hamas leadership have squandered on weapons and assorted activities, in service of their jihadist aims, leaving their people in utter poverty and misery, and, ensuring that the territories under their control are incapable of economic self-sufficiency and of drawing foreign investment and tourism?
That bullet deserves recognition for effectiveness. We should all be thankful that at least one woman will not be producing martyrs.
And, the sanctimonious reporter devotes time to solemnly intone that the Israeli sniper may have committed a “war crime.” Doesn’t endless and ceaseless Islamic jihad against an ancient people who simply want to live in peace, in their ancestral homeland, constitute a “war crime?”
Any person, politician or media outlet that is willfully shilling for Islamic propaganda narratives should be properly labeled a “collaborator” with, and, a “useful idiot” for, Islamic supremacism and totalitarianism.
Every rocket shot at Israel is a war crime. Has the NY Times ever mentioned that?
The list of war crimes committed by Hamas and others seems nearly endless. Using human shields, hiding war material in / under schools and hospitals, intentionally attacking civilians, not wearing recognizable uniforms, etc., etc.
Israel does itself a disservice by not summarily executing every Hamas fighter it captures for committing such war crimes.
The only info I have about this incident is this article you have posted to show the inaccuracy of the Times article.
Based on the above article alone, it’s hard to disagree with their conclusion that this was at least grossly negligent. Nowhere is there a mention of a legitimate target of the sniper, just vague references to militants being mixed into these crowds. At best the sniper shot at some unmentioned target in close proximity to these people but that even sounds like a stretch and also negligent.
I agree, many times they turn a legitimate shooting into a propaganda piece by omitting important facts. Here you do the same.
Please don’t compromise your credibility by never admitting an Israeli soldier could have been made a serious error or worse when your own facts don’t support your position. As you legitimately point out, that’s what the other side does.
What was the objective of this “March to return”? Peacefully demonstrate near the border fence? The objective was to under the cover of burning tires was to break into Israel, a sovereign country and kill their civilians. Several members of Hamas were shot planting ied’s and cutting holes in the fence. If these “demonstrators” and medics wanted to be safe, they should have stayed home. When you are in an area where you are aware there will be violence, you may end up getting hurt.
To the best of my knowledge it is not against the laws of war to fire on enemy forces without having a specific target in mind, and without seeing a specific threat at that exact moment. In fact to the best of my knowledge it is legitimate to bomb or shell an enemy encampment in the middle of the night when they are sleeping. The fact that the Israeli government, bowing to the left-wing legal establishment, has imposed on the IDF insane rules of engagement that limit snipers to shooting at immediate threats means this sniper may face internal charges for breaking those rules, but as far as the laws of war are concerned he did nothing wrong. And Israel desperately needs a sane government that will allow the IDF to fight to win, rather than constantly fighting merely not to lose.
Nowhere is there a mention of a legitimate target of the sniper, just vague references to militants being mixed into these crowds.
Yes. Shooting at the ground in front of a crowd is functionally indistinguishable from firing directly into the crowd. The bullet will tumble, which is hell for accuracy but not for lethality. A sniper would certainly know this, although a rookie possibly would not. This was not a careless but essentially innocent act, like, say, knocking a tool off a construction project and striking a casual pedestrian somewhere below. The shooter fired a rifle in such a manner that a bullet or fragment would almost certainly hit someone, and it did. What exactly that means I can no more say than can the Times. It does make a bit of a difference whether or not there’s an actual war going on, rather than some sort of metaphoric one. There’s no question of “war crimes” unless there’s an actual war.
If Israel wants to shoot at attackers who are trying to breach a perfectly good barrier, that’s fine with me. But that’s not the issue here.
There is an actual war, and every person in that crowd was an enemy soldier. Remember soldiers peeling potatoes in the enemy’s camp kitchen are just as legitimate targets as ones holding guns.
Seems a bit odd to see some of the comments on this site.
They seem to get excited in the concept, the Final Solution to the Palestinian Problem.
Just kill them all, is that what you are proposing?
Only as many as it takes for them to accept that they’re defeated and have no chance of ever carrying out their genocidal ambitions. Which shouldn’t be very many, if they’re faced with an Israeli government that means business. The whole “intifada” could have been put down the first day back in ’87 with a few hundred deaths. But as long as they see that Israelis have no will to win, they will keep fighting.
Kill as many as it takes to convince these Arabs that war is not their answer. That is, after all, the traditional purpose of war. It is incomprehensible that any educated person does not already know this.
That these Arabs choose to use human shields, here and elsewhere, is a crime on their part. Israel is not obligated to respect the lives of human shields when under attack.
Did you see the Sniper’s statement or are you going by what the highly biased anti Israel NY Times determined? They stitched together “crowd sourced” photos. Do you believe the “crowd” is going to turn over evidence of Hamas terrorism? They are going to show a member of Hamas firing a gun or planting an ied or do they cut those parts out?
“The shooter fired a rifle in such a manner that a bullet or fragment would almost certainly hit someone, and it did.”
This is war, waged and constantly cultivated by Palestinians. Therefore, killing Palestinians is legitimate.
The only problem is that no one is killing them in large enough numbers to make Palestinians to actually want peace.
The point of the investigation (or maybe I should more precisely say, the conclusion of the investigation) in this case is not who the soldier was aiming at. We may never know that. The point is that he did not intentionally target an innocent medic. That fact alone is very significant. The rest – who he was aiming at, if the medic actually was a threat or not, etc, is left for speculation.
What about Little Saint Mohammed?
I think they even got one of those magical “right-turn” projectiles from the Warren Commission.
FWIW, snipers don’t miss from 100 yards. That was a regular IDF soldier likely shooting with iron sights. Moreover, the projectile might have already passed through the target of interest and the riccochet was secondary. As soon as a reporter uses either clip or shrapnel in an article, I assume all info is conjecture and not fact. It would be like reading a science paper and the author using the term “germs.”
Sniper is a word that is way overused. I wasn’t infantry or SPECWAR. I was Navy. But I did qual with the M-14, M-16, and for good measure and sticking with long guns the M-590. Yes, Army and Marine types, I know the Mossberg isn’t a rifle. I was born at night, but not last night. With iron sights I can keep it center of mass to 300 yards. With a scope I can make a heart shot on game to 300 meters. I know this because I’ve done it, in a 30 mph crosswind. Maybe it’s unseemly for me to mention it, but my conviction is that if you’re going to hunt you have the responsibility to shoot well.
Believe it or not, but I never got to practice beyond 300 yards. I know that infantry Marines train at twice that distance. When I was in the Navy I did a few jobs that required me to qualify with small arms. In fact, I was in charge of the largest ammunition account of any intelligence command in the Pacific Fleet. Which, really isn’t saying much. Not like we were SEAL Team Six or anything. But it was no great handicap. How far do you need to shoot aboard a ship?
Well, sometimes pretty far.
But for more than 300 meters God created the Ma Deuce, 25mm chain gun, and then the F-14 (which unfortunately is no longer with us). As far as hunting goes, if I can’t get within 300 meters of an animal it’s time for me to give it up. And really the closer the better. There are apparently some people who pride themselves on making long shots. I never understood that. I never shoot beyond a range I’ve trained at. But I’m most proud of my ability to turn myself into a tree. Or a log. Or a rock. I’m not exaggerating when I say I have had deer practically trip over my legs, as they thought I was part of the Sequoia. Sometimes I surprise myself. I would have thought they would have smelled me but apparently if you’re good enough at keeping still they don’t notice you.
I know it was 300 meters as I was hunting in Namibia at the time. I was kind of surprised when the PH told me to take the shot as I was hunting with a friend and it was my partner’s turn. But I was using a .338 Winchester Magnum, he was using a .30-06. The wind was blowing hard, and for some reason he thought I and my rifle were more capable of making the shot.
Why, I don’t know. The ’06 is nothing to sneeze at. Maybe it was because my friend killed a Kudu by breaking its hip while aiming for the chest.
So I knew the 225 grain Black Talon would drop 8 inches at that range, consequently I put the horizontal cross hair on top of his back. I applied some Kentucky Windage and put the vertical crosshair on the front of his chest. He took one step forward, turned around, took a step back, then dropped right where I shot him.
We went back and got into the Land Rover and “paced” it off. It was exactly 300 meters.
Never forget that these are the evil thugs who cheered when one of their group butchered an infant in his crib with a knife. Israel should use airburst artillery and machine guns on these evil thugs.
Air burst is a good idea, but they should followup with a fuel air bomb to clean up the mess.
israel should also start adding hormones to Palestinian’s water supply, thereby greatly decreasing female fertility and and lowering male’s aggressiveness.
(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.
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.
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.