Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Doctors Without Borders Medic Picking Up Gun And Carrying It Away -- Man Wears PMRC Vest

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Doctors Without Borders Medic Picking Up Gun And Carrying It Away -- Man Wears PMRC Vest PMRC Vest

Does a video on Instagram show a Doctors Without Borders medic scooping up a rifle from a fallen gunman and running it up the street to another gunman who is still shooting? No, that's not true: The uniform worn by the person in the video carries the logo of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a different organization. Higher-resolution video filmed by Palestinian journalist Obada Tahayna and reviewed by Lead Stories does appear to show the man was indeed picking up a gun.

The claim about the medic being from Doctors Without Borders appeared in a November 9, 2023, Instagram post (archived here) by Israeli model and social media influencer Nataly Dadon. In the first comment, Dadon wrote:

In this video taken today in Jenin, a medic from 'Doctors without borders' went to a terrorist who was shot by the IDF, lifted him up and took his weapon then brought it to another terrorist. Basically he abused his position as a medic, which the IDF cannot shoot, to break the law and assist terrorists to get a weapon.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Dadon MSF.jpg

(Source: Instagram.com screenshot taken on Thu Nov 23 03:28:00 2023 UTC)

The video does not appear to show that the medic is from Doctors Without Borders because he wears another medical organization's logo.

Though the video description provided on Instagram by Dadon says the man in the organge vest as a Doctors Without Borders medic, Lead Stories focused on the logo on the back of the vest and then reviewed a variety of images of medics at work in the last few months in Gaza and the West Bank. Though the video quality is poor, the logo matches the color and shape of the logo of the Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS), a group that aligns itself with the Palestinian resistance to Israeli control of lands to which Hamas and other groups lay claim.

Lead Stories contacted Palestinian journalist Obada Tahayna who originally posted video of the incident to his Instagram page. He later removed it but he told Lead Stories he plans to upload it again. Versions of the video including his watermark have been circulating online since at least November 9, 2023, when clashes were reported in Jenin on the West Bank. Note that the "Doctors Without Borders" caption added in the Nataly Dadon version of the video completely obscures Tahayna's watermark.

We re-uploaded his footage here until we can embed it from his account:

(Source: Video provided to Lead Stories by Obada Tahayna on November 23, 2023)

In the original video the PMRC markings on the high-visibility vest are clearly legible:

pmrs1.jpg

pmrs2.jpg

(Source: Screenshots of video provided to Lead Stories by Obada Tahayna on November 23, 2023)

The video does clearly show the man is carrying a rifle after he runs away from the man on the ground:

chrome-capture-2023-10-23.gif

(Source: Animated gif taken from video provided to Lead Stories by Obada Tahayna on November 23, 2023)

While no logo is visible on the red first aid bags carried by the man in the video that accuses Doctors Without Borders of violating neutrality, it is similar to red backpacks seen in photos of medics from a number of organizations, including Doctors Without Borders. On its website, Doctors Without Borders had, on November 22, 2023, posted a report on its operations in Gaza noting its intensive care unit was treating patients brought in by the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and that Doctors Without Borders had loaned first aid bags to volunteer teams at work in Jenin during the November 9, 2023, fighting. We were unable to verify if the man wearing the PMRS vest in the video was carrying such an aid bag.

In a video that Doctors Without Borders UK posted to X on November 9, 2023 (archived here), a medic wearing a similar PMRS vest can be seen transporting patients to a hospital where Doctors Without Borders is active.

That video also shows the difference between some vests worn by Doctors Without Borders and the PMRS:

pmrs3.jpg

(Source: Screenshot of the video at https://twitter.com/MSF_uk/status/1722594250188099679 taken by Lead Stories on November 23, 2023)

pmrs4.jpg

(Source: Screenshot of the video at https://twitter.com/MSF_uk/status/1722594250188099679 taken by Lead Stories on November 23, 2023)

The Doctors Without Borders logo, shown below, is distinctly different from the Palestinian group's logo in every respect: color, style and imagery.

MSF logo.png

(Source: Doctorswithoutborders.org screenshot taken on Thu Nov 23 04:07:00 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories has written to press contact lines for both Doctors Without Borders and Palestinian Medical Relief Society, seeking information on the video and will update this fact check, as appropriate, when they respond. We have also reached out to Nataly Dadon via her social media accounts.

Update: On November 24, 2023 Doctors Without Borders provided us with following statements via email:

We have reviewed the comments on the respective video and we believe the video incites violence and poses a severe threat not only against MSF staff but all humanitarian workers in the region.

Humanitarian workers and first responders in occupied Palestine who are constantly risking their life to make sure wounded and sick people get access to emergency healthcare.

As to the identity of the man in the video:

The person depicted in the video is clearly not wearing an MSF logo or any other identification related to MSF. Our staff around the world are required to wear MSF identification (T-shirt, gear) because it is one of the main protections that we have: our medical identity and credibility.

When asked if Doctors Without Borders provides combat medics or works out in the streets:

No. In Jenin MSF supports the Emergency Room of the Ministry of Health Hospital and supports the Pre-hospital emergency. Our MSF staff in Jenin do not carry ambulatory services.

Doctors Without Borders also provided us with following pictures to illustrate the standard field gear worn by their staff:

Image1.jpg

(Source: Image provided by MSF to Lead Stories, captioned "MSF's team at Al-Shifa hospital")

Image 2.jpg

(Source: Image provided by MSF to Lead Stories, captioned "27 October 2023 - MSF Medical Team in Jenin Hospital (MSB176888)")

Image 3.jpg

(Source: Image provided by MSF to Lead Stories, captioned "Displacement center in Jenin (MSB178392)")

Updates:

  • 2023-11-24T16:08:52Z 2023-11-24T16:08:52Z
    Added statements and images from Doctors Without Borders

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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