What is 'all eyes on welfare'? Decoding the Viral Social Trend on Israel's War | Israel-Palestine conflict news.

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An AI-generated photo with the text 'All eyes on Rafah' during Israel's attacks on Rafah in Gaza has been re-shared more than 40 million times.

Every other Instagram story dominating social media about Israel's war on Gaza has a photo with the text “All eyes on Rafah.”

Here's more about the trend and the photo, which has been re-shared on more than 40 million Instagram stories since Monday, a day after Israel's deadly attack on Gaza's Rafah.

What does 'all eyes on welfare' mean?

  • “All eyes on Rafah” is a photo with a slogan calling attention to the situation in Rafah, the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt.
  • After the start of Israel's war on Gaza, Israel began bombing it from the north and moved down, displacing Palestinians from their homes as they fled south for refuge.
  • By February, nearly half of Gaza's 2.3 million people had been pushed into Rafah after Israel said it planned to launch a ground offensive on Rafah, claiming that the Palestinian group that rules the strip. Four Hamas brigades were there.
  • The announcement was condemned worldwide. In February, Richard “Rick” Peppercorn, the WHO representative for Gaza and the occupied West Bank, said that “all eyes” were on the coming Rafah offensive. It is believed that “all eyes on Rafah” were raised by his statement.
  • The slogan has since appeared on protest posters and other social media posts.

What is happening in Rafah?

On Sunday, two days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to halt its offensive on Rafah, at least 45 people were killed in an Israeli bombardment in al-Mawasi, west of Rafah, which was previously safe. Zone was declared.

Another Israeli attack on a displaced persons camp west of Rafah on Tuesday killed 21 people, including at least 12 women. Airstrikes were reported on Wednesday morning.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Israel has killed at least 36,171 people in Gaza since October 7.

What does the 'all eyes on Rafah' picture look like?

  • The AI-generated image shows an aerial view of the camp set up in orderly rows of tents, nestled among what appear to be snowy peaks. In between, some light-colored tents are arranged with the words “All eyes on Rafah”. In the background is a clear blue sky with cotton clouds.

  • Rafah looks nothing like it: its skies are gray with smoke from Israeli bombs and there are no orderly rows of tents – many smoldering after being bombed inside their occupants, with debris strewn between them. .
  • Rafah is also heavily overcrowded – an estimated 1.4 million people were seeking refuge there from Israeli bombs in February, according to the United Nations.
  • Al Jazeera's Sanad fact-checking agency confirmed that the image was created by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool.
  • Telltale signs of AI include repetition, symmetry of tentacles, lack of detail, and absence of shadows. You can read more about finding AI-generated images here.

Here's how Rafah looked on Monday:

[Jehad Alshrafi/AP]

Here is a picture of Tuesday's Rafah:

[Hatem Khaled/Reuters]

Who shared the AI-generated 'All eyes on Rafah'?

The photo is being reposted on Instagram Stories by users globally.

As of 11:30 GMT on Wednesday, it has been reposted to 40.4 million Instagram Stories. These accounts include:

  • American supermodel Bella Hadid whose father is Palestinian.
  • Irish actress Nicola Coughlin from the Netflix show Bridgerton.
  • American comedian and writer Hasan Minhaj as well as American actor Aaron Paul.
  • British actor and activist Jameela Jameel and British singer Dua Lipa.
  • Famous Indian actors including Varun Dhawan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor Khan.

The first Instagram story using it was posted by user @shahv4012 on Monday. Al Jazeera could not confirm whether this user took the photo.

Apart from Instagram, the photo has also been re-shared on X.

Why is 'all eyes on welfare' so viral?

This photo has received more attention than many photos of Rafah or Gaza.

This may be because the photo is being shared using Instagram's “Add Yours” feature, which allows users to repost photos within seconds without having to search for them.

It's also an easy way to talk about war because celebrities and influencers face more and more criticism for their silence on war.

Some speculate that people are sharing this AI image because it is more palatable than the real images from Gaza, which are graphic and show blood, corpses and violence.

“I believe that the reason this photo went viral is the stark contrast to the prominent visual images of war… In order to humanize the victims in Gaza and Rafah, social media users often share candid images of casualties and bereaved family members. “We do,” Eddie Borges-Ray, associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, told Al Jazeera.

He adds: “This may explain why algorithms on platforms like Meta [Facebook and Instagram]Designed to filter out graphic violence, this image was not flagged. Unlike real, graphic images of war, which can be restricted or removed due to content policies, this AI-generated image can circulate more freely, helping it go viral faster. Borges-Rey said.

How have people reacted to 'All eyes on Rafah'?

It seems that just as many social media users are outraged by the post as those who celebrate it.

Critics of the viral post see the re-sharing as performative activism that distracts from the real images and Rafa's important updates.

Some have suggested what else to post instead of re-sharing the AI-generated image.

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