We reported yesterday how the AP was furious that Israel had leveled the building in which they had offices in Gaza because they were sharing it was Hamas.
We asked the basic question: how could they not know they were sharing the building with Hamas?
The AP issued a statement saying they'd been in the building for 15 years — and had no indication that Hamas was in the building.
We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.
The Israeli government says the building contained Hamas military intelligence assets. We have called on the Israeli government to put forward the evidence. AP's bureau has been in this building for 15 years. We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.
This strike is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.
The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today.
Obama official Ben Rhodes even pushed Hamas propaganda about the incident, saying he didn't see the point of degrading Hamas in this case, and it was hard “not to conclude that the collective punishment of all people in Gaza is the point.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed his “unwavering support” for the AP, saying their reporting was indispensable.
As I said last night, I'd take Israeli intelligence over the AP any day of the week, in terms of who's more accurate here.
Seems I was right, and the AP really is lousy at their jobs. So, I'm not sure we will know “less about what is happening,” because the AP surely didn't seem to know what was going on — even in their own building. According to the Post:
Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday.
Officials in more than one government office confirmed that US President Joe Biden's phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was, in part, about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and American officials the intelligence behind the action.
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
They added that the U.S. was the only country to even ask Israeli officials about the building, that other countries were simply offering their support for their right of self-defense.
None of the media was harmed by the take-down of the building; they were given a warning to get out ahead of the strike. The IDF noted after the attack that it was common to use civilians as human shields — Hamas deliberately does this — and that they gave people time to get out of the building.
The Jerusalem Post also wasn't quite buying that whole AP statement, based on past history.
After Operation Protective Edge in 2014, former AP reporter Matti Friedman wrote in The Atlantic: “Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation… The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby – and the AP wouldn't report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas.”
So, either they're incredibly ignorant or they knew and they're not being truthful. Either way, not a good look there, AP.