Doctors Without Borders targeted by Israel-Hamas war misinformation
Amid unrest in the occupied West Bank over the war between Israel and Hamas, social media users claim a video shows a Doctors Without Borders medic taking a weapon from an injured person and handing it to someone else. This is false; the charity told AFP it is unaffiliated with the individual in the clip, who appears to be wearing a vest associated with a Palestinian relief group.
"In this video taken today in Jenin, a medic from 'Doctors without borders' went to a terrorist who the IDF shot, lifted him up and took his weapon then brought it to another terrorist," says Nataly Dadon, an Israeli model, in the caption of a November 9, 2023 Instagram post.
"Basically he abused his position as a medic, which the IDF cannot shoot, to break the law and assist terrorists to get a weapon."
Violence has flared in the West Bank since Hamas militants poured into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing 1,200 people -- mostly civilians -- and taking some 240 hostages, according to the country's latest figures.
Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and unleashed an aerial bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza that the Hamas government says has killed nearly 15,000 people, also mostly civilians. As of November 27, a temporary truce is in place in Gaza.
AFP could not independently verify the identity of the person handling the weapon, but Doctors Without Borders, known in French as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said he is not a member of their group.
"The person depicted in the video is clearly not wearing an MSF logo or any other identification related to MSF," a spokesperson said in a November 27 email.
"MSF staff do not wear orange vests seen in the video. Our staff around the world are required to wear MSF identification (T-shirt, gear) because it is one of the main protections that we have: our medical identity and credibility."
The spokesperson warned the video could incite violence, calling it "a severe threat not only against MSF staff but all humanitarian workers in the region."
Doctors Without Borders has been working in the West Bank throughout the conflict -- including the city of Jenin, where Palestinians have clashed with Israeli soldiers. But the humanitarian group's teams are clearly identified by their white vests.
Claims that the vest in the video bears the logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world's largest humanitarian network, are also inaccurate.
"The person in the video is not a Palestine Red Crescent member. Their vest is completely different and they are not at all linked to this video/event," an IFRC spokesperson said in an email November 27.
In the footage, the person who picks up the weapon wears an orange vest with black and white stripes at the waist. The yellow logo and lettering on the back appear to match that of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), which operates in the West Bank and Gaza.
AFP reached out to PMRS for comment, but no response was forthcoming.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967 and its troops regularly launch raids across the Palestinian territory.
More of AFP's reporting on misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war is available here.