Many are sharing the above video titled “Hamas using children as human shields.” But the video is not from Palestine. It is actually from Syria. It was first posted to YouTube at least five months ago.
Uploaded to YouTube by user “ziv121213” only yesterday, it has been disseminated widely on social media and already has tens of thousands of views. This is an example of how it is being shared on Twitter:The video shows a man firing a mortar. Behind him is a group of small children huddled with an older man.
This version carries a logo in Hebrew at the bottom right of the screen that says Kikar HaShabbat, the name of an Israeli news website oriented toward Orthodox Jews.
But I was not able to find any trace of the video or a related story on that site. It could have been published there and later removed, or the logo of Kikar HaShabbat could have been added to the video by a hoaxster in order to give it added credibility in the eyes of an audience that would be receptive to material from Kikar HaShabbat.
Original video from Syria
This version was posted on 12 February 2014 with the title “** MUST SEE ** Syrian Kids Launching Mortar Together!”The description states “After the brutal SAF-Barrel Bomb Attacks these syrian kids decide to give a answer to assad.”
“SAF” is presumably a reference to the Syrian air force and Assad is of course Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In the video, the man crouching with the children can be heard shouting slogans against Bashar al-Assad, another obvious indication that this video has absolutely nothing to do with Hamas or Gaza.
Account metadata and Internet searches suggest that the YouTube user who posted the video with the title “Hamas using children as human shields” is in Israel.
While the user could not be traced back to any organized propaganda initiative, the Israeli government is currently supporting a massive online propaganda effort to justify its assault on Gaza.
Social media users should therefore be vigilant about the sourcing of information they share.