TV and Radio

TV Review: Gaza reminds us how fortune we were to have peacemakers

Colonel Kobi Heller, Commander of the Southern Brigade around the Gaza strip - Nahal Oz, Israel
Billy Foley

One Day In Gaza, BBC 2, Monday at 9pm

IRISH republicans have an affinity with the Palestinian people.

While there are also connections to separatists conflicts, such as the Basques and Kurds, it is Palestinian flags which fly in republican districts.

There is a view that the disputes with Britain and Israel are analogous - two sets of people dispossessed of their land by a larger and more powerful foe.

Whatever the criticism of focussing on the faults of Israel above almost all others, this film reminds us that there were a few occasions when the Troubles could have descended into even greater depravity.

One Day In Gaza tells the story of a single day when 60 Palestinians were killed and almost 3,000 injured when the Israeli army responded with live fire to attempts to cross the frontier.

May 14, 2018 started as a mass rally at the border to protest at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, as ordered by Donald Trump.

In moment by moment coverage - through social media video, interviews with protesters and Israeli army members, plus film released by Hamas and the IDF - we saw the day unfold into one of death and despair.

Depending on your point of view, it was either a mass slaughter of innocent civilians by the Israelis or an attempt by Hamas to use the cover of the ‘Great March of Return' to launch a potentially deadly inclusion into Jewish towns and villages.

Some scenes made you wince. Mobile phone video of crackling gunfire followed by people's blood and brains running onto dusty ground. It was clear that these people were unarmed, bar slingshots or stones, when they were shot.

Some were deliberately shot in the legs in a less-than-lethal effort to stop them approaching the frontier, but the IDF was clear in its view that the land near the border was a military zone and aggressive activity in that area was military activity and therefore justified lethal force.

It would be unjustifiable almost anywhere else, but then the British army never faced suicide bombers and an organisation which rejects the right of their country to exist.

Hamas leaders gave speeches on the march saying they would cross the border and “rip out the hearts” of the Israelis.

Loudspeakers instructed people: “Come forward, paradise is calling.”

The mother of a 14-year-old girl shot dead said of her daughter: “Her dream was to be a martyr.”

One Day In Gaza was brilliant journalism, but it was depressing watching a conflict seemingly without solution.

However flawed, thankfully in Northern Ireland we came to some sort of compromise.

****

John Bishop's Ireland, UTV, Sunday at 6.30pm

Liverpool comedian John Bishop will end his four-part trip around Ireland tomorrow night by visiting Portrush, the Falls Road in Belfast and south Armagh.

At the end of last week's show he crossed the border into Derry where he took a tour of the walls, visited the Free Derry Museum and made a joke about knowing where his audience in the Republic stood but was in a bit of difficulty in Northern Ireland.

The joke was a bit like John Bishop's tour of Ireland - predictable.

And don't expect any revelations when Bishop takes a black cab tour of Belfast tomorrow evening.

So many British celebrities, environmentalists, comedians and even a famous footballer, have made programmes about visiting Ireland that there's surely nothing left to see and little to remark upon.

Although, I suppose we should remember that the shows aren't aimed at us and, no doubt, are helpful to the tourism industry.

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