Fact Check

Does This Video Show the Destruction of the UNRWA Building in Gaza?

The same video has been falsely described as showing the destruction of the the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza.

Published Feb. 15, 2024

 (Twitter)
Image Via Twitter
Claim:
Video shows Israeli soldiers demolishing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

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In mid-February 2024, several social media users shared a video showing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers demolishing a building the posts described as housing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). As Snopes previously reported, this same video went viral in November 2023, when it was described — in some cases by those same users — as showing the destruction of the "Gaza Parliament Building," otherwise known as the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza:

In reality, the video shows neither building. Shortly after the video had gone viral in November 2023, online sleuths geolocated the video to a location in Northeast Gaza — a region named Juhar al-Dik that had been devastated by the IDF during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza:

This location is several miles from either building. Claims that the video shows the demolition of the UNRWA are also undermined by the fact that, at least as of Feb. 14, 2024, that building — though damaged — was still standing:

The legislative council building at issue is not located in this now largely uninhabited region either. It is instead located in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City and looks nothing like the building in the viral video, and is shown here, shot from Aljondy Almajhool Park across the street from its entrance, in a user uploaded photo on Google maps:

(Google/Chavez Ghassan)

Images that went viral on Nov. 11, 2023, apparently shot from this same park, show IDF soldiers posing in front of that building:

On Nov. 13, 2023, the Times of Israel reported that IDF soldiers had entered the building, and shared an image from social media of IDF soldiers in the main hall of that building:

On Nov. 14, 2023, the IDF announced they had captured several buildings that were key to Hamas' power, as reported by the Times of Israel:

The military said that troops of its 7th Armored Brigade and Golani Infantry Brigade captured several Hamas governmental sites in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Sheikh Ijlin and Rimal. Among the locations captured by the troops were the Hamas parliament, the government complex, and the police headquarters.

The video that went viral in November that purports to show the destruction of the above building, however, was taken over four miles away and appears to have no link to the government building. Based on imagery published by The New York Times, the actual legislative council building was destroyed sometime before Nov. 30, 2023.

Because the video in question shows the destruction of an unrelated building in Juhar al-Dik, however, the claim that building is either the Palestinian Legislative Council building or the UNRWA is False.

Sources

Fabian, Emanuel. "IDF Says It Has Captured Hamas Parliament, Government Seat and Police HQ." Times of Israel, 14 Nov. 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-proclaims-it-has-captured-hamas-parliament-government-seat-and-police-hq/.

"Breaking the Silence ' Testimony ' 'Check It out, There's Nothing at All Left of Juhar al-Dik.'" Breaking the Silence, https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies/database/456701. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

Fabian, Emanuel. "Gallant: Hamas Has Lost Control in Gaza; Gunmen Who Fired from Hospital Entrance Killed." Times of Israel, 13 Nov. 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallant-hamas-has-lost-control-in-gaza-troops-kill-gunmen-who-fired-from-hospital/.

"IDF Soldiers Selfie, behind Them Is the Building of Palestine Legislative Assembly in Gaza." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/aldin_aba/status/1723380637799772254. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

Israeli Military Forces Raid Juhor Ad-Dik Area In The Eastern Gaza Strip - Islamic World News. 30 Oct. 2023, https://english.iswnews.com/31469/israeli-military-forces-raid-juhor-ad-dik-area-in-the-eastern-gaza-strip/.

"The Hamas Parliament Building Was Demolished." X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/nexta_tv/status/1724814029355405462. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

Holder, Josh. "Gaza After Nine Weeks of War." The New York Times, 12 Dec. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/12/12/world/middleeast/gaza-strip-satellite-images-israel-invasion.html.

Video Footage Shows Massive Damage To UNRWA Headquarters In Gaza City. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPi-Jxb-c5s. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.