An airstrike by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) toppled a building in Gaza housing the offices of international media outlets such as Al Jazeera and AP. The IDF revealed Hamas shared this building with the press, using the outlets as “human shields.”
“After providing advance warning to civilians & time to evacuate, IDF fighter jets struck a multi-story building containing Hamas military intelligence assets. The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields,” tweeted the IDF.
Following the destruction of the 12-story building, the President and CEO of Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, released a statement in which he stated that the news service was “shocked and horrified” at the development.
He confirmed that they had received advanced warning from the IDF. However, Pruitt denied having knowledge about Hamas military assets being located inside Al Jala.
Israel, however, shared intelligence with the United States showing Hamas operating in the location, from a report in The Jerusalem Post. “We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building. I understand they found the explanation satisfactory,” an unidentified diplomatic source told the media outlet.
In an interview with CBS News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that they had shared intelligence with “our American friends.”
Netanyahu said that the building housed “an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization,” which made it a “perfectly legitimate target.” He asserted that there were no civilian injuries or deaths from the strike.
Dr. Mostefa Souag, Acting Director-General of Al Jazeera Media Network, said in a statement that the Israeli attack was “barbaric” and demanded immediate international action, claiming “The aim of this heinous crime is to silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza.”
Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatari government, which has been accused of funding terror outfits in the Middle East. Qatar has admitted to bankrolling islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood following a regional boycott by surrounding countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus dismissed the idea that his country was seeking to silence the media. “That is totally false, the media is not the target,” he said to Reuters.
In a 2014 article written by Jerusalem-based reporter Matti Friedman at The Atlantic, Friedman stated that Hamas “understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation. Western news organizations tend to see no ethical imperative to inform readers of the restrictions shaping their coverage in repressive states or other dangerous areas.”
“In the war’s aftermath, the NGO-UN-media alliance could be depended upon to unleash the organs of the international community on Israel, and to leave the jihadist group alone.”
In a May 17 tweet, the IDF proclaimed that more than 3,150 rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinians. In response, Israel has struck more than 820 targets and neutralized 130 plus alleged terrorists; 450 rockets fired by Hamas misfired and exploded inside Gaza.
“The threat is real. Millions of Israelis are living under fire. We will continue to defend ourselves,” the IDF tweeted.
In a May 17 statement released by the White House, President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire. However, he reiterated that Israel has the right to “defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.”
Washington also voted against a UN Security Council joint declaration aimed at reducing tension in the conflict-ridden region. Anonymous diplomats revealed to AFP that the United States saw the UNSC meeting itself as a sufficient show of concern and that a statement would have been “counterproductive.”
Meanwhile, a group of 19 Republican Senators introduced a resolution reaffirming America’s support for Israel’s right to peace and security. Led by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the resolution condemns Hamas’ attacks on Israel.
“Let’s remember what we are witnessing: these are terrorists ruthlessly attacking an ally. Defense of these terrorists is unthinkable,” said Scott.
“It’s time for President Biden to stop cowering to the anti-Israel radical left and remind these terrorists and the world of the United States’ strong and unwavering support of the Israeli people.”