Amidst pictures and news of real war, there are false and misleading claims about the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The conflict began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, causing extensive damage and loss of life.
Unfortunately, there is misinformation circulating online, distorting the truth about what’s happening. Some of this false information includes outdated or made-up images and videos being shared as if they are from the current conflict in Israel and Gaza.
The actual toll of this conflict is already devastating. According to The Associated Press on October 11, at least 2,200 people in Israel and Gaza have been killed, including at least 22 Americans, with more people still unaccounted for.
In addition to the tragic reality, some politicians have contributed to the confusion by making unproven claims. They suggest that U.S. taxpayer money and a recent deal with Iran funded this tragedy.
These misleading claims about the conflict have been fact-checked by PolitiFact.
Out-of-context images from past events
People have been sharing videos that are not related to the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza. These videos have been taken out of context and shared as if they showed events that happened recently.
For example, one video claimed to show Iranian lawmakers chanting “death to America” after the Hamas attack, but it was actually from 2020 after a U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
There was also footage that supposedly showed Palestinians paragliding into Israel to harm civilians. Although there were legitimate reports of armed paragliders from Gaza, this particular video was filmed in Egypt before the recent attack.
Another post claimed to show Hamas militants dressing up as Jewish soldiers, but it turned out to be a behind-the-scenes clip from a Palestinian short film made in 2022.
Additionally, videos from a pro-Palestinian rally in Chicago in 2021 and footage of rapid rocket fire from 2020 were shared as if these events had just occurred, which is not accurate.
Video game footage shared as real
People are sharing video game footage and claiming it’s from the real conflict in Israel and Gaza. This is similar to what happened during Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A game called Arma 3, which is a combat simulation game released in 2013, allows users to create their own terrains, weapons, aircraft, and scenarios. These creations, known as “mods,” can be shared with other gamers. There are over 20,000 mods available for download, according to the Czech game development studio Bohemia Interactive, the creators of Arma 3.
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Unfortunately, some individuals are taking this video game footage and falsely presenting it as actual footage from the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The game’s developers have acknowledged that this misuse is possible due to the detailed simulation capabilities of Arma 3, which can mimic historic, present, or future conflicts. This highlights the need to be cautious about the source and accuracy of the videos being shared.
Claims about U.S. aid to Israel
A piece of information went viral on social media, stating that President Joe Biden approved $8 billion in military aid for Israel. However, this document was changed and was not accurate.
The real memo, which was released on July 25 and can be found on the White House website, stated that the U.S. had authorized up to $400 million in aid for Ukraine.
While it’s true that the U.S. is sending more military ships and aircraft closer to Israel and providing munitions to the Israel Defense Forces, any additional aid beyond this requires approval from Congress.
Claims about Iran, the U.S., and funding for Hamas’ attack and Israel’s response
Some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, blamed President Biden for the Hamas attack, stating that a recent agreement for releasing hostages allowed Iran to access $6 billion, which they claimed was used to fund the attack.
However, it’s important to note that although Iran has a history of supporting Hamas, neither Israel nor the White House has confirmed a direct link between Iran and the attack by Hamas.
In August, the U.S. announced a deal with Iran to release five U.S. citizens held in Iran in exchange for five Iranians imprisoned in the U.S. As part of this agreement, Iran was granted access to $6 billion of its own funds frozen in South Korean banks. These funds were generated from Iranian oil revenue and were frozen in 2019 due to sanctions imposed by Trump.
U.S. officials clarified that Iran hasn’t accessed these funds yet, and the deal outlined specific restrictions on how the money can be used, limiting it to humanitarian items like medicine and food. Experts suggest that while this unfrozen money for Iran may indirectly benefit Hamas in the future, it’s not a direct funding link.
Senator Tim Scott claimed that the Biden administration wanted Israel to stand down after the Hamas attack, but this was rated as “Mostly False.” He referred to a now-deleted post by the State Department’s Palestinian Affairs outpost in Jerusalem, which urged all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. However, subsequent statements from Biden affirmed U.S. support for Israel and its right to retaliate, contradicting Scott’s assertion.