After an Israeli airstrike Saturday destroyed a high-rise office tower on the Gaza Strip, the Associated Press, which had offices there for 15 years, complained, claiming it had no idea the building was also home to Hamas.
If it’s true that AP was so unaware — and the evidence suggests it’s unlikely — how can anyone trust its reporting in the region?
The Israeli military ordered the 12-story al-Jalaa Tower, which hosts AP and Al Jazeera offices, evacuated an hour before the strike, saying it was being used by Hamas military intelligence. For a week, tensions between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, have been at their highest since their 2014 conflict, with Hamas raining thousands of rockets into residential areas of the Jewish state.
Israel later shared some intelligence with the United States. “We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the Jerusalem Post. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
Of course, we’ve known for years that, as the Israel Defense Forces put it, Hamas “intentionally locates its military assets in the hearts of civil populations,” even “hiding behind” media outlets and “using them as human shields.”
And AP knew that well, according to one account. “When Hamas’ leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. 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,” says a 2014 Atlantic piece by Matti Friedman. Hamas militants would regularly “burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff — and the AP wouldn’t report it.”
It seems that what AP doesn’t know — and doesn’t report — always favors Hamas over those the group terrorizes.