An Israeli sheel hits its target in Rafah
Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in Rafah. Image by EPA PHOTO

Rafah offensive sparks fresh wave of ‘Pallywood’ claims

Blair Simpson-Wise May 23, 2024

A video shows Rafah crisis actors creating propaganda footage to exaggerate war casualties.


False. The video is behind-the-scenes footage from a Palestinian TV drama series.

Israel’s offensive in Rafah has led to a resurgence of claims that Palestinians are faking injuries and death to exaggerate the harm suffered in the war.

One video being shared supposedly shows Rafah crisis actors on stretchers and in body bags preparing for a propaganda shoot.

But this is false. The footage is a behind-the-scenes clip of a Palestinian television drama series that aired months before the Rafah offensive.

The video has been shared on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter)

Facebook video of actors wearing war wound make-up.
 One of the social media posts in which the claim is made. 

The footage shows two men in a graveyard – one lying on a stretcher with a woman applying make-up to his neck while the other sits inside a body bag, smoking a cigarette.  

The video’s text reads “Make-up Gaza Style” and includes the handle @GAZAWOOD1, an X account that regularly posts footage that it claims reveals Palestinian crisis actors faking injuries.

One Facebook user captioned the video “The most vibrant corpses I’ve ever seen”, adding the hashtag “#Pallywood” among others.

“Gazawood” and “Pallywood” (sometimes written as “Paliwood”) are mash-ups of the words Gaza/Palestine and Hollywood and are used online to insinuate that crisis actors are being used to exaggerate the harm suffered in the war.

But the video does not show Rafah crisis actors shooting so-called Pallywood content.

It is behind-the-scenes footage of actors filming Palestinian drama series Bleeding Dirt (Nazeef Al Torab).

According to the Middle East Monitor, the show is set near Nablus, in the West Bank, and its plot focuses on “Palestinian resistance” to Israeli forces.

Palestinian fact-checking network Kashif contacted the showrunners who confirmed the scenes were shot in Asira al-Shamaliya, a town north of Nablus. 

YouTube upload of Palestinian TV show Bleeding Dirt.
 The graveyard scene from episode 2 of Bleeding Dirt. 

The original behind-the-scenes footage was uploaded by the show’s director Bashar Al-Najjar on YouTube. The original footage reveals the video associated with the false claims is actually a mirrored/reversed version.

In episode two of Bleeding Dirt, which was uploaded to YouTube on March 13 (pictured, above), the man on the stretcher can be seen in the graveyard alongside the man in the body bag (22:20).  

The claim has also been checked by Reuters, Full Fact and Check Your Fact.

The Verdict

The claim that a video shows Rafah crisis actors creating propaganda footage to exaggerate war casualties is false.

The video is behind-the-scenes footage from a Palestinian drama filmed in the West Bank that aired months before the Rafah offensive. 

False The claim is inaccurate.

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