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Israel Was Slammed For Bombing Gaza Building That Housed AP. But Israel Says Hamas Was Building Anti-Iron Dome Device There.

Such a device would render Israel vulnerable to rocket attacks
The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepts rockets (R) fired by the Hamas movement towards southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip as seen in the sky above the Gaza Strip overnight on May 14, 2021.
Anas Baba/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan issued a statement saying that when Israel bombed the al-Jalaa building in Gaza that housed employees of The Associated Press, an action for which the mainstream media condemned them, Hamas was using the same building to work on a device that would have rendered Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system ineffective, thus leaving Israel vulnerable to massive rocket attacks.

Erdan and the Israel Defense Forces gave information to AP CEO Gary Pruitt and the news agency’s vice president for foreign news, Ian Phillips, in New York, The Jerusalem Post reported. The Post noted, “Israel gave advance warning for the strike, and no one was killed.”

Erdan wrote on Twitter:

Yesterday, I visited the @AP HQ in New York to explain to top executives that the building housing their Gaza operation was being used by Hamas terrorists trying to jam the Iron Dome — that is why it was prioritize[d] by the IDF during last month’s operation. AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel does not suspect its employees were aware a covert Hamas unit was using the building in this way.

Israel did everything to ensure no employees or civilians were hurt during this operation. In contrast, Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization that purposely places its terror machine in civilian areas, including in buildings being used by international media outlets.

I reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and strives to ensure the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting. Israel is willing to assist AP in rebuilding its offices and operations in Gaza.

Erdan stated, “Israel does not think that [AP] workers were aware of the Hamas activities in the building, because it was a secret Hamas unit. … Hamas is a murdering terrorist organization that tramples freedom of the press when it operates its terrorist enterprise from within civilian populations, including in the building used by international media.”

The Associated Press issued a statement saying, “Israeli authorities maintain that the building housing our bureau was destroyed because of a Hamas presence that posed an urgent threat. We have yet to receive evidence to support these claims. AP continues to call for the full release of any evidence the Israelis have so that the facts are public.”

On May 15, AP reported, “News organizations demanded an explanation Saturday for an Israeli airstrike that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the offices of The Associated Press, broadcaster Al-Jazeera and other media outlets.” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said, “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

The Associated Press has had to issue a number of corrections in its reporting on Israel. Among others, in November 2016, AP acknowledged, “In a story Nov. 16 about Israel’s settlement policy, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the United States considers Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank to be illegal. While the United States opposes settlement construction, it does not take a position on its legality.”

In December 2016, AP seemingly implied that Tel Aviv was Israel’s capital, not Jerusalem. In March 2020, AP charged that Israel had prevented surgical supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip. CAMERA reported, “Following communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, the Associated Press commendably amended its report. The substantively improved copy now also notes mismanagement of the medical infrastructure by Hamas, the terror organization which rules the territory,  and it also no longer falsely claims that Israel prevents the entrance of surgical items.”

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