Trigger Warning: Graphic Content, Dead Body, Child Death
[Editor’s Note: The story uses explicit footage of dead children where it is unavoidable for the purpose of fact-checking. Reader discretion is advised.]
Against the backdrop of the month-long war, a video is being shared on social media which seemingly shows dead bodies of children laid on the ground, wrapped in white sheets. A woman wearing a hijab can be seen touching the face of one of the slain children. Several pro-Israel social media users are claiming that the woman is putting makeup on the child’s face to make it seem like the child has been injured or dead.
Many have shared it with the ‘Pallywood’ narrative — a term that pro-Israel influencers and users have used several times in the past month to discredit the claims of the death toll and destruction in Gaza by suggesting that Palestinians are play-acting injury and even death.
X Blue user Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) shared the video mentioned above on November 9 with the following caption: “Palestine will get the maximum number of Oscar awards this year.” The tweet has received over 99,000 views and has been retweeted over 1,600 times. (Archive)
Another X Blue user, Deepak Sharma (@SonOfBharat7), shared the same video with a caption in Hindi that can be translated as: “Extent of cruelty. Children are made unconscious by sniffing opium etc. Then paint the dents and show them to the world. Present, and Play the Victim Card || Money is received from Arab countries and these people send it to the world, @Israel @TimesofIsrael @NaorGilon sir please see how these people are diverting the world ✍️”. The tweet has received over 62,000 views and has been retweeted over 2,500 times. (Archive)
We noticed that the viral video contained a text in Arabic, seemingly a copyright mark, that could be translated as: “Omar Al-Derawi”. We ran a keyword search and found the Instagram account of Omar Al-Dirawi (omar_aldirawi), a photojournalist from Gaza. We saw that Omar had shared the same video on November 8 with the following caption: “Mom says goodbye to her kids”. In another reel shared the same day from the same place, Omar mentioned in the caption: “A massacre of children now in Nuseirat”. Nuseirat is a refugee camp in Gaza.
Taking a cue from the above, we ran a relevant keyword search with the date filter. We found a news report by the Palestine Chronicle from November 8. The report said that an Israeli bombing in the morning of November 8 on a building in the Nuseirat refugee camp had killed 17 Palestinians, the majority of whom were children.
Another news report from the IHA News, a Turkish news agency, carried the viral video. The report said that the strike had hit a building in the north of Deir al-Balah that belonged to the Shehhade family. A total of 18 casualties, including that of 10 children, were recorded.
We reached out to two journalists on the ground. Said Shoaib, who’s been actively sharing updates from Gaza on his social media platform, confirmed to us that the viral video was shot at the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Shoaib also mentioned that the woman in the viral video had a ‘tally counter’ on her finger. Journalist Muhammad Shehada also confirmed that the woman had a tally/digital counter on her finger and not a makeup brush. He said: “She’s only using her finger in the video to touch and bid farewell to that dead child. The black object on her finger appears to be a digital counter ‘Misbaha’ used by some people to count prayers.”
We zoomed in on the video and it can be clearly seen in the video attached below that the woman is moving her fingers over the child’s face, possibly as an affectionate gesture, and there’s a blue object wrapped in her right hand’s index finger that looks similar to a tally counter. [Discretion advised]
We found another video on the Instagram profile of photographer @mohammed_fayq from the same location where the child from the viral video could be seen being carried off by a man. In the following video, it can be clearly seen that the child is not alive. [Discretion advised]
Below are a few screengrabs from the viral video and a comparison. It is clear that the object in the woman’s hand has a small screen and it is a tally counter. It does not, in any way, resemble a makeup brush.
A further keyword search in Arabic on X led us to a tweet by Shehab News Agency (@ShehabAgency). In the pictures, people are offering prayers for the dead children who can be seen in the viral video. The text of the tweet says these are photos of 17 people, most of them children, killed in an Israeli aircraft bombing a house in the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) November 8, 2023
Therefore, the claim that the viral video depicts a woman doing makeup on children’s faces to make them look dead is false.
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