Does a video of a man collapsing in the street prove that his fall was staged for pro-Hamas propaganda and that it happened in Gaza in 2023? No, that's not true: The footage predates the 2023 Hamas-Israel war. Contrary to online speculations, it doesn't show an incident in Gaza -- it was filmed in the West Bank in 2015. Lead Stories found no credible sources proving that the man faked the fall or injuries.
Who needs hollywood.
The banners added on top of the shared video continued:
Gaza: Where actors always have roles.
The Palestinian Theater
Here is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Dec 18 17:14:27 2023 UTC)
In the video, the man is seen arguing with armed soldiers. All are standing on the elevated sidewalk. At some point, shuffling from foot to foot, the man takes a step back, loses balance and falls off the curb onto the roadway. People who witnessed his fierce polemics, including some in press jackets, rushed to help him and carried him to an ambulance.
Contrary to the claim, the footage does not portray Gaza nor was the incident in 2023. It was shot eight years earlier. The watermark in the bottom left corner, as translated by Google, pointed to the specific year:
(Source: Google screenshot taken on Mon Dec 18 20:55:48 2023 UTC)
This is consistent with the previous news coverage of the event.
Footage of the same scene shot from a slightly different angle was uploaded on YouTube by Euronews on October 12, 2015. The file's description said it was filmed in Hebron and added specific details about the incident, including the name and age of the man:
The elderly Palestinian, 65-year-old Ziyad Abu Haleel, is heard in the video telling the soldiers "you should be ashamed", he then collapses to the ground.
Furthermore, it emphasized that a major media organization had verified what happened to the man in a timely manner:
A local Reuters crew confirmed on Sunday (11 October) that Abu Haleel was released from the hospital after suffering from minor bruises from falling over.
Photojournalist Bilal al Taweel's name, which is seen in the bottom left corner of the video on the Euronews YouTube account, has also provided video and photos for the Reuters website (archived here) in the past.
Lead Stories contacted Reuters for additional comments. If we receive a response, the article will be updated as appropriate.
(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Dec 18 18:10:37 2023 UTC)
In the recording shared by Euronews, the fall is captured at the 00:52 mark. There is no indication that the man staged it -- he rather looks confused as if he had forgotten that he was standing near the curb. Then, as the man lies on the pavement, he touches his head in a gesture suggesting that it hurts, and he doesn't get up until he is picked up by bystanders.
Other 2015 news reports (for example, here, here and here) do not contradict this version of events: The articles reviewed by Lead Stories focused on the content of the polemics and reported that the injuries sustained by the man were minor.
The city of Hebron is located outside of the Gaza Strip -- in the West Bank :
(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken on Mon Dec 18 18:05:00 2023 UTC)
Other Lead Stories fact checks about the 2023 Hamas-Israel war can be found here.