Israel posts fake videos to justify Gaza slaughter

Women stand inside destroyed building

Palestinians inspect a building damaged by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on 12 May.

Ashraf Amra APA images

This article has been updated since initial publication.

The Israeli government posted a more than two-year-old video apparently from Syria, claiming it was from Gaza, in order to justify its ongoing bombing campaign that has killed dozens of Palestinians since Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic spokesperson Ofir Gendelman tweeted a 28-second video on Tuesday.

The video shows the rapid firing of rockets from next to what looks like an apartment building.

“Another video showing how Hamas is firing rockets at Israel from populated areas in the Gaza Strip,” Gendelman wrote.

He then accused Hamas, the Palestinian resistance faction that governs Gaza’s internal affairs, of “targeting civilians while using them as human shields.”

The words “Gaza now” are watermarked on the video in English and Arabic.

But there is one problem: The video is old and does not appear to originate from the Gaza Strip.

The exact same video, just two seconds longer, had been posted on YouTube on 22 December 2019 by a user who indicated that it was filmed in Maarrat al-Numan, a city in northeastern Syria.

The same video was also posted on YouTube on 26 June 2018 by at least two different users, both indicating it shows rockets being fired towards the Daraa region in southwestern Syria.

Screencapture of a tweet

Screenshot of a now-deleted tweet by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic spokesperson Ofir Gendelman after Twitter labeled it as featuring “manipulated media.”

Other journalists have similarly confirmed the video to be from 2018.

Although it’s difficult to determine where the video came from with absolute certainty, its emergence on the internet without doubt predates Israel’s current aggression in Gaza by years.

The original video contains no watermark or text suggesting any connection with Gaza, and there is no indication that this video is connected to the territory beyond Gendelman’s tweet.

This is a familiar propaganda tactic.

During Israel’s massive bombing campaign in Gaza in July 2014, Israel supporters widely shared a video claiming to show “Hamas using children as human shields.”

The video showed a man firing a mortar. Behind him was a group of small children huddled with an older man.

But this too was a video from the civil war in Syria, with no connection to Gaza.

Video posted by Nazareth man

In another tweet on Tuesday, Gendelman posted a video showing men lying on the ground pretending to be incapacitated.

“Hamas, as per usual, is trying to mislead the media and public by staging fabricated plays, making young men who are alive appear to be corpses,” he wrote.

The video, however, appears to have been originally posted on video-sharing platform TikTok on 26 March.

The user who posted the video, Moslem Abo Rabea, indicates on his profile that he lives in the city of Nazareth in northern Israel.

Hamas is not mentioned in the video.

There is a watermark on the video posted by Gendelman indicating that it was taken from Abo Rabea’s TikTok profile.

The same men appear together in other videos posted by Abo Rabea on the same day.

It is unclear what the original context of the video posted by Gendelman is, but what is certain is that it predates the current escalation in Gaza and appears to have no connection to the territory.

Gendelman’s lies

Lying for propaganda value appears to be a longstanding tradition for Netanyahu’s spokesperson.

In 2019, Gendelman tweeted an image of female protesters in Gaza holding Palestinian flags, calling them “ISIS women,” without providing any proof that they did in fact support the so-called Islamic State.

In April 2018, Gendelman misleadingly used an image of large tire fire at a landfill in Texas along with a tweet accusing Hamas of planning to torch the Israel-Gaza boundary fence with fire using tires.

The picture appears to have been taken from a video of a tire fire in Odessa, Texas, posted on Youtube in April 2017.

The same month, Gendelman tweeted a video clip containing fake subtitles, which claimed a young woman was saying something different than she actually did.

In 2012, Gendleman posted a graphic that looked like a hospital sign, published by the Israeli army, purporting to show that Hamas leaders hide under hospitals and stockpile weapons there.

The sign was fake.

Update

After this article was published, Twitter labeled Gendelman’s tweet containing an old video apparently from Syria as featuring “manipulated media.”

Gendelman deleted the tweet shortly after on Thursday.

His other tweet implying without any evidence that Hamas is connected to a video of men lying on the ground pretending to be incapacitated remains up on Gendelman’s page.

Ali Abunimah contributed reporting.

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You guys are doing amazing work here. I am familiar with their use of fakd & old footage to legitimize bombing hospitals and schools. Nice catch on the tiktok haha. Trigger happy and habitual liars don't care about source and context, as long as it fits their narrative.
It is a visual representation of their reasons for bombing. It is only surface level, but no depth.
I am very happy that you took the mantle to start this site and shared extensive articles across different geopolitical figures and their ties. Certainly exhaustive work indeed. I commend you and your team as well as the comments.
Readers! Your input goes a long way for writers and team pouring hours into shedding light on the world we live in. Now it's time for us to reflect it.

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I became familiar with perhaps the most widely circulated fake video used to condemn Palestinians when an acquaintance brought it to my attention. He was completely taken in by the misattribution of footage shot at a 2013 student protest in Cairo depicting a symbolic array of shrouded war dead. Israeli propaganda claimed the scene was filmed at a fake Palestinian mass funeral at which "corpses" can be observed scratching noses, conversing, etc.

I do think these tactics are proving less useful to the apartheid regime, particularly now that Palestinians have acquired the means of recording and publishing their own genuine encounters with Israeli repression. The Israelis are running out of effective propaganda tools, resorting instead to crude blackmail and overt interference in the internal affairs of nations. I'm told that Mark Regev has given the BBC an interview so disastrous that he's not expected to be available for some time. They have no arguments, just worn-out lies and naked force.

We must step up our efforts in this hour of peril for all of Palestine. Our brothers and sisters there and around the world need our support. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Write to public officials and media. Take part in protests. Make speaking the truth a part of your daily actions.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.