Israeli TikTok users mistake Oman irrigation ditches for flooded Gaza tunnels

Israeli TikTok users mistake Oman irrigation ditches for flooded Gaza tunnels
Israeli and pro-Israeli TikTok users have unintentionally made a video of Omani agricultural workers viral, after confusing them for Hamas fighters.
2 min read
13 December, 2023
Omani farmers have been finding water underground since ancient times [Getty]

Israeli and pro-Israeli TikTok users have been mocked by their Arab counterparts after mistaking a video of Omani men clearing irrigation tunnels for footage of Palestinian fighters in tunnels in Gaza.

The video, uploaded by an Omani social activist called Hussein Al-Rasibi to TikTok, has unintentionally gone viral, garnering over 7.2 million views and over 5,000 comments.

It showed men in “falaj” tunnels knee deep in water, digging soil and filling buckets with it, which were later hoisted up.

Oman’s traditional falaj irrigation system, which depends on tunnels and canals, involves the delivery of underground water from mountainous areas to arid flat land where agriculture is viable and is highly regarded as an example of ancient ingenuity.

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However, Israeli and pro-Israeli TikTok users thought that Al-Rasibi’s footage showed Hamas fighters in flooded tunnels.

The Israeli military has announced that it will begin flooding tunnels in the besieged and bombed Gaza Strip with seawater, in an effort to drown or force out Hamas operatives hiding there.

One pro-Israeli TikTok user calling himself “David_Rockstar” left a comment saying “Thanks for the pictures we got you,” followed by American and Israeli flag emojis.

This was uploaded to X, formerly known as Twitter, by an Arabic-speaking social media user called Moath, who said, “Do you want to the level of stupidity among the settlers and the people of the occupation?”

Other pro-Israeli users left comments including “God finish you soon” and “Dig your grave”. There were many comments in Arabic pointing out that the footage was from Oman.

However, Israeli TikTok users were not the only ones fooled by the footage. Scores of pro-Palestinian users of the platform, particularly from non-Arab countries, left comments supportive of the Palestinians in Gaza and these ended up outnumbering the pro-Israeli comments.

All of this helped the video, and other videos uploaded by Hussein Al-Rasibi, gain millions of views on TikTok as viewers mistook an ancient Omani irrigation system for the “Gaza Metro” dug by Hamas.