All Eyes on Rafah AI image

How the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ image took over Instagram

The story was shared over 40 million times.


Marlon Ettinger


A mega-viral Instagram story image calling for solidarity with Gaza during Israel’s attack on Rafah appears to have prompted a response by pro-Israel posters, who’ve made their own sharable image evoking the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.

Now, Israeli news outlets are reporting at least one person sharing the rebuttal has been suspended.

The pro-Gaza image shows an image of tents stretching out into the distance, with some of them laid out to spell out the words “All Eyes on Rafah.” As of Wednesday afternoon, the image had over 44 million shares.

According to Shayan Sardarizadeh, a journalist for BBC Verify, the image is the “most viral AI-generated image I’ve ever seen.” 

The Daily Dot couldn’t confirm whether the image was AI-generated. @shahv4012, a Malaysian photographer, took credit for creating the image in an Instagram story, but didn’t immediately respond to questions about it.

The popularity of the image comes in the wake of a deadly Israeli attack on a designated civilian evacuation zone to the west of Rafah that killed at least 45 people.

The bloody aftermath went viral on social media, with graphic and disturbing images of wounded and dead civilians filling up feeds. Rafah had long been designated a safe zone for Palestinians fleeing the war but is now under siege.

The pro-Israel response to the viral campaign calls back to the Oct. 7 terror attack that killed over a thousand people.

“Where were your eyes on October 7?” reads the caption on the image, which shows a Hamas fighter standing over a bloodied baby next to a burning Israeli flag.

“Where were your eyes on October 7?” echoed one pro-Israel user who shared the image on X. “Where are your eyes now when our sons and daughters are being held hostage by Hamas?”

121 hostages taken by Hamas on Oct 7 are unaccounted for, with about 37 now considered dead.

Other pro-Israel posters also shared images asking those who have their eyes on Rafah to keep an eye out for hostages as well.

“Absolutely,” posted one supporter. “If your eyes are on Rafah, Please find the hostages and bring them home…”

“Since your eyes are on Rafah, would you mind looking around and letting us know if you see 125 hostages? Ages 1-86. Some missing limbs,” posted @yaelbt.

Several Israeli outlets have reported that either the creator or one of the first people to share the rebuttal image, Benjamin Giarmon, was banned from Instagram after uploading it.

The Daily Dot was unable to confirm a previous account for Giarmon, though a handle for @benjamin_giarmon goes to a dead link. Other posters on X claim a different person made the image and Giarmon was just the first to share it.

A handle was not tagged when the picture was uploaded by the Israeli Cartoon Project, which made no mention of a suspension while saying Giarmon made it.

Meta did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot inquiry about the rebuttal image.

While some criticized the suspected AI provenance of the Rafah image as an attempt to whip up fake emotions over a very real ground assault in Rafah, the image resonated with plenty of others. 

“I think a lot of people know it’s an AI generated image. It has to do with the camp massacre, and the easy sharing technique to make it a story on Insta especially,” posted @ShazzShams. “It’s very interesting. A lot of people who have been so far silent shared this image and broke their silence.”

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