I can’t believe this has to be said, but if you operate out of the same building as a vicious terrorist organization, you’re putting yourself at risk. When that terrorist organization starts lobbing rockets at innocent people in Israel, pushing things towards the brink of war—the danger grows. It’s the nature of journalism in a hot zone. It’s nothing new. The Associated Press operated in Nazi Germany. We’re talking about this because Israel launched an airstrike that leveled a building in Gaza that also contained Al-Jazeera and Associated Press offices. Katie wrote about it yesterday. There’s been outrage. There have been allegations that Israel violated international law. And the news coverage has been predictably trashy (via NBC News):
Kind of loving the media "Israel used us to trick Hamas" with "Why yes we are sharing office space with Hamas, why do you ask?"— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) May 15, 2021
NEW YORK (AP) — AP president and CEO: "Shocked and horrified" by "incredibly disturbing" Israeli attack on building housing AP office.— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) May 15, 2021
Press freedom advocates have condemned Saturday's Israeli airstrike on a Gaza building that housed offices of foreign media, including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
After it was struck by missiles, the 12-story al-Jalaa tower, which was also home to apartments and other offices, collapsed in giant cloud of dust, disrupting coverage of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has escalated last week, claiming dozens of lives.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths, and journalists and other tenants were safely evacuated after the Israeli military gave an advance warning of an imminent strike.
Israel's military has defended targeting the tower, saying that Hamas had a military intelligence office in the building and used journalists as human shields. It has not provided evidence of the intelligence operations in the building, and the AP cast doubt on the claim.
Was it a conflict of interest for AP to share office space with terrorists? Did that impact their coverage? Certainly explains some of their recent headlines, if so.— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) May 15, 2021
Uh, they did provide intelligence, just not to you people (via JPost):
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.”
The US was the only country to inquire about the IDF strike on the building, which the military said housed Hamas military intelligence offices, as well as AP and Al Jazeera, other news outlets, and other offices and apartments.
Also, a former AP reporter noted that Hamas operated in and around the building back in 2014, which shreds the statement from AP’s CEO who said that he had no idea Hamas was around the building or something.
AP CEO: "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'd never knowingly put our journalists at risk."https://t.co/8UOXMXqwc2 pic.twitter.com/cd4nJFBEiL— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 15, 2021
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
To be clear, I don't at all think that the AP works with terrorists. I think they just make the calculation that part of the cost of doing business safely in an enclave ruled by terrorists is keeping your head down.— Seffi Kogen (@seffikogen) May 16, 2021
In my two essays from 2014, I gave multiple examples of the way news organizations like the AP had been compromised by Hamas in Gaza. Contrary to what I’ve seen attributed to me today, I didn’t write that Hamas operated out of the same building, and don’t know if that’s true.— Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman) May 16, 2021
The army legal advisers who approve these strikes were convinced that the intel and the military logic could be defended, meaning they saw proof. And because hitting press offices is a net negative for Israel, the army seems to have had a target it considered worth the fallout.— Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman) May 16, 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
I have an idea, liberal media How about stop protecting terrorist organizations who couldn’t care less about your lives. They don’t even care about their own lives or that of their own people. We’re seriously doubting the intelligence of our allies over whether Hamas, which has such a reputation for integrity, had offices inside the building that was most likely being used to plot and kill innocent people.
Crackerjack job, again folks. Take a bow, you’re now the de facto mouthpiece for Hamas.