VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Viral video of parading armed men does NOT show Palestinian backup

A video of a parade in October 2018 by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is being erroneously passed off as a clip showing “reinforcements” arriving in the State of Palestine amid the escalation of its conflict with Israel.

The four and a half minute-long video published May 15 by Facebook (FB) page Palestine-Esrael Update was originally uploaded over two years ago by the Suara Palestina News Agency (SPNA), an Indonesian-language Palestinian media organization.

It does not show backup arriving to counter Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza this month.

SPNA’s original caption for the video described the event as a parade by PIJ militants in the Palestinian city of Gaza, shortly after the group named its new leader, Ziad al-Nakhala.

His appointment in September 2018 was reported by various media outlets including the Associated Press, Times of Israel, and Haaretz.

PIJ is regarded as a terrorist organization by various countries including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Palestine-Esrael Update’s reuploaded copy bore Suara Palestina’s logo on its top left corner.

The false post emerged as violence escalated in the decades-long conflict between Palestinians and Israel. Islamist militant group Hamas launched rockets toward Israel from Gaza on the night of May 10 in response to the Israeli police’s consecutive raids on the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem which injured hundreds of Palestinians. The May 10 airstrike marked the start of the continuing exchange of fire between the Israeli military and Hamas.

Palestine-Esrael Update’s spurious video has been circulating among social media users in the Philippines since May 15, the same day the FB page was created. It has over 96,000 reactions, 10,000 comments, and 36,000 shares, and has been viewed more than 2.1 million times. Other posts on the page use Filipino in the captions, suggesting a Filipino administrator behind the account.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)