Trying to separate fact from fiction on social media in Israel-Gaza

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Tuesday 22 July 2014 14:20

We examine the truth behind the pictures and videos swirling around Twitter and Facebook while Israel continues its military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Warning: some people may find the graphic content upsetting.

Claim 1: A volunteer aid worker was killed by an Israeli sniper

A graphic video posted on YouTube (by pro-Palestinian group the International Solidarity Movement) on Monday and widely shared on Twitter purportedly shows a young man killed by an Israeli sniper while trying to rescue survivors of a missile strike in the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood of Gaza City.

The video has been widely covered but has still not been independently verified. The closest we can get is this verified photo from Sunday showing a similarly dressed man carrying a stretcher in the same suburb.

(Picture: EPA/Mohamed Saber)

Claim 2: An Israeli soldier posted a photo of a Palestinian child in his crosshairs on Instagram

He did, but in February last year.

Claim 3: Children are signing shells destined for Gaza 'From Israel with love'

They did, but the picture dates from 2006, when Israel was at war with Hezbollah.

Claim 4: The Israel Defence Forces tweeted a picture of Westminster under missile fire with the words "What would you do?"

Yes, they did. They were criticised for a lack of awareness around the IRA bombing campaign in London, and the British military response.

Claim 5: A Palestinian man tears his shirt after being told his son was killed in a shelling attack upon a beach in Gaza

The photo is, sadly, genuine.

(Picture: Rex / Hosam Salem)

Claim 6: Israeli soldiers smile as they pose with dead Palestinians

The graphic images, which have been shared on Twitter, are believed to be real, but are from 2010 (warning, very graphic images).

Claim 7: An Israeli sniper killed British peace activist Tom Hurndall as he tried to save a Palestinian child

This photo has been widely shared on Twitter. Tom died in January 2004, having spent nine months in a coma after being shot by an Israeli sniper in Rafah. Taysir Hayb was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli military court.

Claim 8: Israelis are watching artillery and missiles strike Gaza from Sderot, cheering whenever they land

They are, but have also defended their actions.

CNN pulled correspondent Diana Magnay from covering the conflict after she said Israelis cheering such strikes were "scum".

She defended her now-deleted tweet, claiming she was only referring to those who were threatening her and her camera crew.

Read more:18 members of one family killed in Gaza ahead of humanitarian 'pause'

Tribute to children in conflict zones highlights the real tragedy of war