STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Does a set of nearly-identical videos on social media depict Israeli law enforcement grappling with people in October 2023 in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip or Jerusalem? No, that's not true: The footage was first posted online in April 2023. It shows clashes with Christian pilgrims in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, not in Gaza and predates the Hamas-Israel war by more than five months.
A post (archived here) on Instagram on October 26, 2023, implied that the clash had occurred in the Gaza Strip. Video of the same incident was posted on October 24, 2023, but labelled as "BREAKING" as though it was related to the war over Hamas' October attack on Israel. The posts include video depicting a physical confrontation with the caption:
A text overlay on the video read:
These Israeli people just don't
care who they hurt
Muslim , Christian , women , elder , babies ,
They're all the same to them
The last line was written in Arabic. As translated by Google, it said:
Allah suffices for me, and is the best deputy.
This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Oct 27 14:55:35 2023 UTC)
The video portrayed uniformed personnel pushing individuals in civilian clothes, including at least one person wearing the black robe of a Christian priest. The scene appeared to have taken place in a closed space.
The recording resurfaced amid heightened speculation about Israel invading the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces published a video showing what appeared to be limited tank raids in the area.
Contrary to the claim, the location of the incident in the video was not Gaza, nor was it part of the October, 2023 war between Israel and Hamas. The video showed April 2023 clashes in East Jerusalem, as a previous upload by the Turkish government-run TRT World indicates:
(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Fri Oct 27 14:54:30 2023 UTC)
Other media outlets' coverage of the April 2023 confrontation provides additional details and further confirms that the video in question does not show the Gaza Strip in October 2023.
On April 15, 2023, Australia's ABC News, a national public broadcaster, reported (archived here) that tensions had escalated over crowd control during the Holy Fire ceremony, an annual Greek Orthodox ritual held in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the eve of Orthodox Easter. In an attempt to prevent a stampede, Israeli police restricted access to the church, ABC News reported:
Footage showed Israeli police dragging and beating several worshippers, thrusting a Coptic Priest against the stone wall and tackling one woman to the ground.
A Reuters article (archived here) from April 15, 2023, also mentions a social media video that shows a policeman pushing away a Coptic priest -- apparently, the same footage seen in the claim on Instagram and posts on the platform known as X. The report points out that, in the past, the event attracted as many as 10,000 worshippers. However, in 2023, Israeli police, citing safety concerns, allowed only 1,800 people inside the church and 1,200 outside.
Israel took control over East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it in 1980. Many countries consider East Jerusalem an Israeli-occupied territory. In 2017, the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital but "without taking a position on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty," the CIA World Factbook notes.
Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the October 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict can be found here.
2023-11-01T21:43:07Z 2023-11-01T21:43:07ZUpdated to incorporate several misleading uses of video of the April, 2023 Israeli police confrontation with worshippers seeking admission to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the eve of Orthodox Easter.