Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Netanyahu Announcing Plan To Build Settlements In Gaza Strip

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Netanyahu Announcing Plan To Build Settlements In Gaza Strip Gaza Envelope

Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make an announcement on April 17, 2024, pledging to spend $5 billion to construct new settlements in the Gaza Strip? No, that's not true: The video posted on X shows Netanyahu speaking in Hebrew, but the English subtitles do not accurately reflect what he said. The subtitles mention "settlements of the Gaza Strip" but in the announcement Netanyahu referred to Otef Aza, the area just outside the Gaza Strip known as the Gaza Envelope -- where many of the Hamas attacks on October 7, 2023, occurred.

The subtitled video appeared in a post by @HotSpotHotSpot on X, formerly Twitter, on April 17, 2024. It was captioned:

🇮🇱❌ Netanyahu unveils a $5 billion dollar plan to construct new settlements in Gaza

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

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed May 8 18:35:06 2024 UTC)

The caption of this social media post and the English subtitles added to this video falsely suggest that Netanyahu said new settlements would be built inside the Gaza Strip. Starting at 39 seconds in, the misleading subtitles read:

The cabinet will approve a plan to rebuild the settlements of the Gaza Strip. We will invest a very large sum of 19 billion shekels to make the settlements of the Gaza Strip available to generations. We will invest in housing, infrastructure, education, employment, medicine and more.

Translations offered by the official government of Israel websites vary slightly, so Lead Stories reached out to Dan Arbell (archived here), a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Israeli Studies at American University, to see if he could help clarify exactly what was said. On May 8, 2024, Arbell replied via email:

I watched and listened to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on April 17. The post on X misrepresented what Netanyahu said. In his comments at the opening of the cabinet meeting on April 17, PM Netanyahu announced the cabinet's decision to allocate 19 billion Israeli Shekels (=5 billion US dollars) for the rebuilding and strengthening of the villages (towns and kibbutzes) in 'Otef Aza' (aka the 'Gaza envelope' in sovereign Israeli territory adjacent to the Gaza Strip). Netanyahu did not say anything about building new settlements inside the Gaza Strip.

The Revival Plan

On December 10, 2023, the Tekuma Authority was established (Tekuma meaning revival) to carry out a five-year plan of rehabilitation and development in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. A government meeting on April 17, 2024, reviewed the commitment and goals of the plan. A joint announcement from the Prime Minister's Office and the Tekuma Administration was published by the Prime Minister's Office on April 17, 2024. This includes an excerpt of what Netanyahu said. In the translation of his statement from Hebrew, the areas to be rebuilt are called "settlements around Gaza" while the same press release in English says, "the communities of the Western Negev." This is the name of the desert and the region in southern Israel. The northwestern portion borders the Gaza Strip. The press release (archived here) from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also quotes Netanyahu saying "the communities in the Western Negev."

Today, the Government will approve the Tekuma Plan to rebuild the communities in the Western Negev. We will invest the very large sum of NIS 19 billion in order to move the communities of the Western Negev forward for generations. We will invest in housing, infrastructure, education, employment, health and more.

The April 17, 2024, video (the same as was reposted on X with the misleading subtitles) is posted on the official YouTube channel of the Prime Minister of Israel. The Google translation of the video captions from Hebrew to English reads in part:

Today, the government will approve the 'Revival Plan' for the rehabilitation of settlements surrounding Gaza. We will invest a very large sum of 19 billion NIS to boost the settlements around Gaza for generations.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the Hamas-Israel war can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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