A video went viral Friday claiming to show someone with a rifle at Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital, which was held up as evidence that Hamas is using hospitals as staging grounds for military activity. The video was even getting promoted by Israel’s official account on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. But a closer look at the video reveals it’s not a gun. The video actually shows someone with what appears to be a police baton.
“Footage of Hamas terrorists inside the Indonesian hospital in Gaza,” Israel tweeted in the early morning hours of Friday ET.
“Hamas endangers the sick, Hamas endangers the elderly, Hamas endangers children, Hamas endangers innocent civilians, Remember that,” the account continued.
But the video that has gone viral, originally tweeted by COGAT, the acronym for the Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, was pixelated enough that it’s easy to understand why some people thought it looked like a gun. A higher resolution version of the video, which is available at Al Jazeera’s YouTube page, makes it clear that’s no gun. It’s a baton.
The video has been viewed by over 4.5 million people at the time of this writing, and it’s become the latest example of an online war over information that’s intensified ever since the terrorist attacks against Israel by Hamas on October 7. Those attacks killed roughly 1,200 people, a revision down from the 1,400 people originally believed to have been killed, according to numbers from the Times of Israel.
Israeli officials insist Hamas is using civilian locations like hospitals and schools to stage military operations. But the Indonesian Hospital—named that because it was built using charity funds from Indonesia—denies it’s being used for military purposes.
“What Israel accused us of can be a precondition for them to launch an attack at the Indonesian hospital in Gaza,” Sarbini Abdul Murad, the head of the charity that built the hospital, said in Jakarta this week, according to the Times of Israel.
Over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, with at least 4,237 of them children, and while the White House has signaled it would like to see more care taken to protect civilian lives in Gaza, the Biden administration hasn’t signaled it will do anything to stop the current campaign of daily violence.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Friday that “far too many Palestinians have been killed” and he’d like to see more aid reach innocent people in Gaza.
“Much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them,” Blinken said, according to the New York Times.
The White House is still pushing ahead with a $14 billion emergency aid package to Israel, on top of the $3.8 billion the U.S. already sends to the country annually, the most financial assistance America delivers to any nation in the world.
Why is so much money being sent to Israel?
“A lot of ordinance is being used. A lot of military vehicles are going to be used up or damaged,” Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, told Time magazine this week. “War is expensive.”