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Lebanese music video misrepresented as scene from Israel-Hamas war

Lebanese music video misrepresented as scene from Israel-Hamas war - Featured image

Author(s): Bill MCCARTHY / AFP USA

Social media users are claiming a video shows Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip chopping down an elderly Palestinian man’s olive tree against his wishes. This is false; the clip comes from a Lebanese band’s anti-Israeli occupation music video released in 2019.

“OLD PALESTINIAN MAN PLEADS WITH ISRAELI SOLDIERS NOT TO CUT THE OLIVE TREE HE GREW & SAYS SHOOT HIM INSTEAD,” says a December 20, 2023 post sharing the short clip on X, formerly Twitter. “SO SAD, MONSTERS.”


Screenshot from X taken December 22, 2023


Similar posts spread across X and other platforms, with one TikTok video amassing more than 323,000 views. Many used hashtags such as “IsraelHamasWar, #Gaza or #GazaConflict, suggesting the incident took place in the conflict-ravaged Palestinian territory.

Olives are an important source of income for farmers in Gaza, which has been battered by war in the months since Hamas militants attacked Israel, taking some 240 hostages and killing about 1,140 people — mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed more than 20,000 people — primarily women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

But the clip circulating on social media is unrelated to the war.

Reverse image searches reveal the scene comes from the music video for the 2019 song “Cavalry” by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese indie band that disbanded in 2022 (archived here and here).

According to the group’s description on YouTube, the song and video are meant to spotlight the cruelty of military oppression and reflect the story of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist who was filmed several times as a teenager confronting Israeli soldiers.

The single received media coverage at the time of its release.

AFP contacted Mashrou’ Leila for comment, but no response was forthcoming.

AFP has debunked other misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war here.

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Originally published here.
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