IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that AP Gaza-based journalists drank their morning coffee with Hamas operatives in the building the IDF flattened during Operation Guardian of the Walls, wittingly or unwittingly, Channel 12 News reported.
“It came down for good reason,” Kochavi said, according to the report. “I don’t have a bit of regret.”
According to the IDF, the Jala Tower was not only home to the AP, Al-Jazeera and other major media outlets but was also home to a Hamas intelligence office that controlled advanced military devices designed to interfere with the IDF’s GPS reception which could affect Israel’s guided missiles.
The bombing of the AP building aroused a media furor and international condemnation, with the Associated Press vehemently denying that Hamas maintained offices in the building.
That being said, former AP journalist Matti Friedman wrote an article in 2014 stating that Hamas regularly operated in and around the AP office in Gaza. Friedman also wrote about the media’s bias toward Israel and journalists’ continuous blind eye to Hamas’s activities.
“When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press,” Friedman wrote in The Atlantic. “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. (This happened.)”
“Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)”
What if I told you that a former @AP journalist (@MattiFriedman) had written IN 2014 that Hamas regularly operated in and around the AP office in Gaza? https://t.co/MXdTcCqvOc pic.twitter.com/dlx01utSLS
— Seffi Kogen (@seffikogen) May 16, 2021
Suddenly this occur to me, seems relevant to the topichttps://t.co/A1lexKgFFP
— Assaf Chriqui (@AssafChriqui) May 15, 2021
Any press organization operating in a dictatorship is going to be compromised, and will further compromise itself to conceal how it has been compromised. It’s not a new story, or one limited to the AP, or to Gaza. I wrote about it here: https://t.co/knuj5T3ce1
— Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman) May 16, 2021
“This unsubstantiated allegation attributed to the Israeli military’s chief of staff is patently false,” AP stated on Saturday night. “There was not even a cafeteria in the building. Such baseless claims jeopardize the safety of AP journalists.”
“AP continues to call for an independent investigation into the destruction of the building housing our Gaza bureau so that the facts are known. As we have said repeatedly, we had no indication of a Hamas presence in the building, nor were we warned of any such possible presence before the airstrike. We do not know what the Israeli evidence shows, and we want to know.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)