Hamas officials have also released a video to portray their version of Ms. Najjar’s story. That video, released Saturday, shows Ms. Najjar and other medics walking toward the Israeli fence in white coats and with their hands raised. A Gaza health official said the video was taken shortly before Ms. Najjar was shot.
A similar public relations battle erupted after the death of an 8-month-old girl, Layla Ghandour, who died after having been exposed to tear gas at the Gaza protest last month. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said she had been killed by the tear gas.
The Israeli authorities and others pushed back, saying the child’s pre-existing congenital heart disease may have contributed to her death. The Gaza authorities eventually capitulated, removing the child’s name from a list of people killed by Israeli troops.
The Israeli video released Thursday appears to be an excerpt from a longer video produced by Al Mayadeen News, an Arabic satellite channel based in Beirut, Lebanon.
In the longer video, the comment that the military translated as “I act as a human shield” was part of a sentence in which Ms. Najjar said, “I’m acting as a human rescue shield to protect the injured inside the armistice line.”
The Mayadeen interview suggests that Ms. Najjar may have been a more complex person than either side is making her out to be. While she said she saw her role as a health care worker, she also saw herself as part of the protest.
“With all my strength, will and persistence, no matter what you do to me, what dangers I’m subjected to, bullets, explosives or tear gas, I will continue on my course and journey,” she said. “I will save all the injured so that they can go back and defend their land, and take back our land.”