Israeli ex-defence minister shares false photo of 'Hamas HQ'

Israel's ex-defence minister Bennett shows Pakistani hospital in video as 'Hamas headquarters'
2 min read
30 May, 2021
Naftali Bennett, the right-wing politician who is in the running to become Israel's next prime minister, showed an image of a Pakistani hospital while describing the building as the headquarters of the Palestinian militant group.
The hospital shown in the video is located in Islamabad, Pakistan [YouTube]

Israel's former defence minister was caught out this week by Pakistani social media users who highlighted the right-wing politician's false use of a photo of a Pakistani hospital to describe the "headquarters" of Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Naftali Bennett, who is currently in talks with other Israeli opposition leaders to form a new government, used a photo of the Shifa International Hospital in the Pakistani capital Islamabad in a video posted on May 20.

The Yamina leader unwittingly used the photo to represent the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which he falsely alleged was used as the headquarters of the Hamas militant group.

Al-Shifa is the largest hospital in the Palestinian enclave and treated hundreds of civilians injured during 11 days of intensive Israeli air strikes and shelling this month.

In the video, addressed to celebrities who have criticised Israel over the brutal bombardment and occupation of Palestinian lands, Bennett also claimed a school was being used as a weapons store by Hamas.

He also repeated the official Israeli allegation that the Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza, which contained homes and international media offices before being completely destroyed in an air strike, was a Hamas military intelligence office. Israel has not provided any evidence for those claims.

Bennett is not the only high-profile Israeli to have shared images from another country falsely purporting to be from Palestine.

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Yair Netanyahu, son of the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shared a video clip of a "funeral" where bodies are lying on the ground covered in white shrouds. As the camera moves, one of the bodies can be seen moving.

Netanyahu, who is known for his controversial statements on social media, claimed that the video showed "Paliwood" actors faking deaths in the Gaza Strip. The video was in fact from a 2013 protest in Egypt.

Similarly, Ofir Gendelman, the spokesperson of Prime Minister Netanyahu, shared a video which he claimed showed Palestinian militants launching rockets in a densely populated area. The video was taken in Syria in 2018.

Gendelman also shared a video, which he said showed Palestinians staging bodies for a fake photo. The video actually showed people preparing for a bomb drill.

Another viral video claimed to show Palestinians faking injuries. The video was actually from 2017 and showed the application of film and special effects make-up as part of a medical training exercise organised by Doctors of the World.