Video does not show a Palestinian woman saying ‘we’re prisoners of Hamas’

7 February 2024
What was claimed

Footage shows a Palestinian woman saying “we’re prisoners of Hamas”.

Our verdict

The subtitles are incorrect. The woman is speaking about finding her son’s body.

Fake subtitles have been added to footage circulating on social media to suggest a Palestinian woman said in Arabic “we are prisoners of Hamas”. However, this is not a correct translation. 

The video shows a woman speaking in Arabic to someone behind the camera. Overlaid text says in English: “Watch this courageous Palestinian woman saying the truth”, while text in Arabic says: “One woman worth a thousand men” (translated by Google). 

According to the subtitles, the woman is explaining how Hamas forced her to “stay” and threatened to “slaughter” her if she tried to escape. She supposedly says: “We’re prisoners of Hamas. I prefer the Jews.” 

One post sharing the video on X (formerly Twitter) says: “Imagine @IDF actually frees them from HAMAS and the internet flooded with these videos of people who were opressed by hamas but were afraid to complain because of the deathrape. Imagine then that the Gaza will actually start to thrive after Isreal intervention…Thankyou @IDF for saving these people. [sic]”

However, freelance fact checker, Arwa Kooli, confirmed to Full Fact that the subtitles are not a correct translation. Ms Kooli said the woman is actually speaking about searching for her son and recognising his body because of the belt. 

Moreover, a longer video shared to YouTube on 7 November by a Qatari television station, Al Araby TV, shows the women from a different angle and does not include these subtitles. It is captioned (in Arabic and translated by Google): “Rare elderly Palestinian woman risks her life to reach the body of her martyred son”.

This is not the first time we’ve written about videos with fake subtitles creating a false or misleading impression of what’s being said. Other instances of this type of misinformation include clips of Presidents Putin and Erdogan supposedly “warning America” over support for Israel and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apparently saying conflicts erupt yearly under President Biden. 

Misinformation can spread quickly during significant global events and it’s important to verify what you see online—we’ve written guides that can help you do this here. You can find more of our work fact checking claims relating to the Israel-Gaza conflict here

Image courtesy of Mor

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.