Fact check: Photo shows Palestinian couple at site of their old home, not related to recent conflict
The claim: Photo shows Palestinian couple looking at their old home, now occupied by Brooklyn couple
Following 11 days of military confrontation that left hundreds dead, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire.
As the conflict progressed, social media users were sharing an image of an elderly Palestinian couple standing in front of a home, talking to another couple.
The caption of the posts read, “Elderly Palestinian couple looking at the house they once lived in, now occupied by a couple from Brooklyn.”
In many cases, the photo and its caption were used to illustrate the ongoing conflict over Israelis evicting Palestinians to make room for Israeli settlers in Jerusalem. Examples of the post can be seen on Instagram and Facebook.
However, there is no proof the other couple is from Brooklyn or that the change in property ownership was recent.
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USA TODAY has reached out to the posters for comment.
Couple’s home, village were seized by Jewish settlers in 1948
The image has been shared widely on social media to illustrate the prominent and ongoing evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem, which allow Israeli settlers to claim the properties and land.
But the story behind it dates back much further than the recent conflict.
The picture appears to be a still image from a May 2020 Al Jazeera report.
According to an English translation of the Al Jazeera report posted on YouTube, the Palestinian couple in the photograph had their home and village seized by Jewish settlers during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948.
USA TODAY confirmed the accuracy of the English translation.
In the clip, Al Jazeera reporter Najwan Simri asked the current residents of the home, “How do you feel living in a house built on the wreckage of his house?”
The Jewish woman said she was happy to live in the home and that it was “very enjoyable.”
The report does not identify the couple behind the gate, making it impossible to verify the claim that they originate from Brooklyn.
While the photo in the social media posts is not related to the recent violence between Hamas and Israel, it is connected to some of the fundamental issues of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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The recent violence was set off by Israel’s attempts to remove Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Eastern Jerusalem. This eviction effort served the same purpose as it did in 1948, to make room for Jewish settlers.
Our rating: Missing context
We rate the claim that a photo shows an elderly Palestinian couple in front of their old home, talking with a couple from Brooklyn as MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional information it could be misleading. Since the image was shared following recent violence between Hamas and Israel, many social media users assumed the image showed a recent eviction of the Palestinian couple. While it is correct that the couple once lived there, the seizure of their home and village happened in 1948, not recently. Reporting from Al Jazeera confirmed the other couple in the photograph are the current residents of the home, but there is no evidence they are from Brooklyn.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, May 20, Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire after hundreds killed in Gaza
- Rima Najjar Merriman on YouTube, May 16, 2020, Displaced Palestinians encounter Jews occupying their home in Ijzim, Israel
- Al Jazeera, May 15, 2020, Learn about the story of “Ijazim” village, whose people were displaced by the Israeli occupation (Arabic)
- //U.S. State Department Office of the Historian, accessed May 26, The Arab-Israeli War of 1948
- Al Jazeera, May 1, What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah?
- New York Times, May 19, Evictions in Jerusalem Become Focus of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
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