One Day in Gaza
Shown on BBC 2 Monday 13 May 2019
Now available on BBC iPlayer
MADE by award-winning documentary maker Olly Lambert, One Day in Gaza pays tribute to the heroism and determination of Palestinians to be free, and confirms the cold-blooded ruthlessness of a nervous Zionist state.
The documentary examines moment by moment what happened on the fateful day of 14th May 2018.
What started as a day of mass protest at Gaza’s border with Israel, would end as one of the most deadly in Gaza for a generation.
For weeks, Palestinians had been protesting along the border fence, but tensions were running particularly high due to the opening of the new United States embassy to Israel in Jerusalem – the controversial step ordered by Donald Trump.
As Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other senior US officials gathered in Jerusalem to inaugurate the new embassy, tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at sites along the Gaza border, barely 40 miles away.
But as the sun set, over 60 Palestinians were dead or dying, and over 2,000 lay injured, many by live ammunition.
The UN accused the Israeli military of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Drawing on more than 120 hours of archive footage filmed on both sides of the border that day – including exclusive videos released by both Hamas and the Israel Defence Forces – this film reveals the cold-blooded preparation and actions of Israel and graphically shows the human toll of the day.
Early on, one Palestinian says: ‘We went for a walk to look at the fence.’
Another says: ‘The night before I said to myself we are going to give them – hell.’
The narrator points out: ‘The 14th of May was also the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.’
Alongside images of Palestinians gathering with their flags, there are chants of ‘This land is ours.’
The film cuts to an Israeli woman who filmed the Israeli military build-up on the border.
It also features exclusive interviews with senior commanders and intelligence officers from the Israel Defence Forces.
The IDF Southern Commander says: ‘We prepared for rioters. I was responsible to prevent terorrists.’
A Palestinian woman recalled: ‘We made a human shield for the men.’
A young Palestinian says: ‘I wanted to see the face of my enemy.’
The film explains that Israel has cameras along the fence and cuts to show female IDF staff monitoring the situation from a control centre in southern Israel.
They communicate with soldiers and officers on the ground by phone.
A female Israeli Intelligence officer, whose face is not shown, says: ‘First we must protect our villages. Young girls (in the control centre) have so much responsibility. We have young soldiers as well.’
The film shows Israeli loudspeakers warning the IDF will shoot people dead.
The IDF commander claims of the Palestinian demonstration: ‘Clearly it was peaceful but that wasn’t the issue. It wasn’t a civilian event, it was a military event.’
The film captures snipers wounding Palestinians.
The mother of a Palestinian woman who tried to cut the fence says ‘she became the snipers’ enemy.’
The film carries interviews with political leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad and civilians who were present on both sides of the border.
It shows the use of drones to drop a barrage of gas and Palestinian victims writhing on the ground, burned and in agony, with medics and fellow protesters desperately pouring water on their welts.
A Hamas deputy leader says: ‘It is wrong to describe an organisation resisting occupation as terrorist.’
An Islamic Jihad leader says: ‘We wanted a more peaceful struggle.’
Palestinian witnesses said that Israelis were firing at random.
One paramedic was shot in the chest despite wearing an orange paramedic vest, and died in hospital.
The film notes that no Israelis were hurt.
The IDF spokesman claims: ‘Guidance said be proportionate, only shoot when necessary. We defended our villages, our sovereignty.’
The IDF commander admits of ‘people identified as going back and forth’ and orders were to shoot them in the leg.
In Gaza City, UN representative Goldrick says the wounded were flooding into the hospitals ‘there was a log jam’, hospitals which had only eight or ten beds had to cope with over a thousand patients.
Medecins Sans Frontieres adds that ‘patients were everywhere’.
Goldrick says that ‘some died waiting’ for treatment.
The film narrator notes: ‘Doctors discovered the IDF shot over 1,000 Palestinians, most of these people were shot in the leg.’
The film shows the triumphal ceremony in Jerusalem where Ivanka Trump declares the US Embassy open and Israeli PM Netanyahu crows: ‘We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.
‘Our great soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today.’
With drones dropping a barrage of gas and the death toll rising in Gaza, Hamas and the Great March of Return organisers call for the end of the demonstrations.
One disappointed Palestinian says ‘the plan was to cross over but we did not cross over’ the border.
The IDF commander claims: ‘We accomplished our mission well’ and that his troops ‘showed incredible restraint’.
A Hamas spokesman says: ‘We did not expect the occupation would shoot so many people.’
The closing credits remind that over 60 Palestinians were dead or dying, and over 2,000 lay injured, many by live ammunition, and that the UN has accused Israel of carrying out crimes against humanity and war crimes.