AI-generated image claims to show a tent city for Israelis
There is currently no tent city set up in Eilat for refugees
Claim: A photo shows that a camp has been set up for displaced Israeli refugees in Eilat, Israel.
Fact: The photo does not show a tent city in Eilat. In fact, it was created using artificial intelligence (AI).
What’s happening in Gaza?
On 7 October 2023, the Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, launched a “surprise attack” on Israel via sea, land, and air. In response, the Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas on 8 October 2023.
At least 1,400 fatalities have been reported in Israel and 230 people are held captive in Gaza as per Israeli authorities. Health officials reported that more than 8,309 people have been killed in Gaza, Palestine, of whom nearly 67 per cent are reportedly children and women, according to data published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
On 27 October 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a major resolution on the Gaza crisis, calling for an immediate “humanitarian truce” and the protection of civilians.
On the same day, Israel intensified Gaza’s bombing as it launched a second phase with ground operations after imposing a communications blackout in the Palestinian territory.
Fact or Fiction?
On 26 October 2023, Facebook user Ariel Peretz, shared a photo claiming that it shows a tent city set up for Israeli refugees in Eilat.
“Next to the Israeli city of Eilat, a tent city for evacuated Israelis.
The city has already accepted more than 60,000 Israelis who have left their homes.
But on the news, we don’t see these things!,” the caption of the post reads.
Eilat is a southern Israeli resort city on the Red Sea, near Jordan. The Israeli army said one of the Hamas rockets struck near Eilat on 25 October, according to a report by Al Jazeera English.
Around 65,000 evacuees from the Gaza border communities have reached Eilat, where volunteers are intensifying their work to provide accommodation, food, and assistance, according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
A few unusual features of the picture include the presence of two Stars of David on the Israeli flag, in the upper-right part of the image, which is typically composed of one star. Individuals who appear in the image are wearing winter attire despite October’s high temperatures in Eilat, which can rise up to a sweltering maximum of 33 degrees Celsius. One individual in a red jacket, seen in the lower left side of the frame, is holding a map which his face seems to be blending into.
A Google image-search of Eilat’s coastline revealed that while Eilat does have a coastline which resembles the one in the viral claim, it typically features densely packed buildings and distant hills. But the viral image depicts an empty landscape suggesting that it is not an authentic depiction of the area. AI-generated images tend to look hyper-real. This particular image has been sharpened and noise has been removed so that it appears clear, which indicates it was created with AI.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that there are plans to set up a tent city in Eilat to accommodate evacuees as the hotels have reached a full capacity. However, there are no confirmed reports that a tent city has already been set up in Eilat.
In Ramat Gan, a city around 280 kilometres away from Eilat, a tent city is currently under construction to provide accommodation for over 200,000 internally displaced Israelis due to the conflicts with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Whereas in Gaza, according to an Associated Press report, a tent camp, provided by the UNDP, has been established in Khan Younis, to provide shelter for numerous Palestinians who lost their homes or had to leave due to extensive Israeli bombardment. The situation has resulted in over 1.4 million people being displaced in Gaza, according to the United Nations.
The photo was also shared with the following Arabic caption on social media:
“الاحتلال يبني أول مخيم للنازحين الصهاينة في أراضينا المحتلة [The occupation builds the first camp for displaced Zionists in our occupied territories]”
Conclusion: The two Stars of David on the Israeli flag, people dressed for winter in a warm climate, and the blending of figures into objects suggests it is AI-generated.
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