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The mainstream press erupted in anger after Israeli military forces demolished a 12-story tower in the Gaza on Saturday that had allegedly contained “military assets of the military intelligence” of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas but that had also contained offices for two legitimate media organizations.
“The building housed the offices of civilian media, which the terrorist organization Hamas hides behind and uses as human shields,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement after the demolition, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“The terror organization Hamas deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Prior to the attack, the IDF warned the civilians who were in the building and gave them sufficient time to evacuate.”
As a result of the IDF’s warning, there were no civilian causalities, though the building’s owner had reportedly begged for a bit more time for reporters to evacuate.
Watch the demolition/air bombing of the al-Jalaa tower below:
Hamas was using the AP and Al-Jazeera as human shields. Those reporters should do some reporting on what their presence was protecting | An IDF airstrike destroys the Al-Jalaa building in Gaza, used as the offices of AP and Al-Jazeera. pic.twitter.com/k700ertFGh
— Mike (@Doranimated) May 15, 2021
#Israel has razed to the ground a high-rise building housing residential apartments & media offices in #Gaza City, including #AlJazeera & @AP. Live video showed the 11-storey al-Jalaa building crashing to the ground after being bombed.pic.twitter.com/lw8RNNTqSl Ht @mmbilal
— 🚶🏻Curtis S. Chin (@CurtisSChin) May 15, 2021
WATCH: The owner of al-Jalaa tower pleads with an Israeli officer on live TV to let journalists collect their gear before he bombs it.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 15, 2021
The building had reportedly housed offices for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. In response to the building’s demolition, both outlets cried foul.
“Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground. Al Jazeera promises to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.
Meanwhile, AP CEO Gary Pruitt issued his own statement saying he was “shocked and horrified” by the strike and demanding that the Israeli government prove that the building had contained Hamas’ military 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,” he said.
“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.”
To be clear, they were able to evacuate because they were provided advance notice by the IDF.
Listen to Pruitt below:
While the AP’s indignation certainly garnered support from the left, it provoked incredulity from the right for several notable reasons.
One, they didn’t believe the AP’s claim that Hamas had not maintained a presence in al-Jalaa tower, in part because of videos like the “old” one below that allegedly shows a reporter inside the building laughing as a missile is launched from it:
They are saying that Israel destroyed a Al-Jalaa tower in Gaza that housed the Associated Press, Al Jazeera & others.
But they won’t tell you that Hamas also uses media offices for rocket attack against Israel.
Watch this old video of media reporter when Hamas launched rocket. pic.twitter.com/IEXvtocKUj
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) May 16, 2021
Second, they questioned the credentials of “journalists” who were no blissfully unaware that they were working alongside terrorists.
Doesn’t say much for their reporting abilities if they missed a Hamas staging office a floor away.
— Jester (@quaintjester) May 15, 2021
Well, says a lot about the journalists.
— President Elect Todd Spengo (@TekWeird) May 15, 2021
These are the people we trust to give us information..
— Passionately Apathetic (@acct_brnr) May 15, 2021
They must be pretty piss poor reporters.
— Maeve (@Maeve0330) May 15, 2021
Great journalists. They say don’t even know Hamas is in the same building as themselves but we’re suppose to trust their ‘reporting?’
— Mark Jacobs (@mr_markjacobs) May 15, 2021
We are professional news making people, but we also don’t know that a designated terror organization shares a bathroom with us
— Kyle Beckley (@Kyle_Beckley) May 15, 2021
And third, they took issue with the AP’s sudden concern for property rights given it and its peers fierce defense of the Black Lives Matter extremists who’d rioted and destroyed property all throughout last year.
Some outlets, though admittedly not the AP, had gone all out in defending BLM, with NPR publishing a piece “In Defense Of Looting” and multiple outlets — The Nation, Rolling Stone magazine and Current Affairs magazine — publishing pieces defending property destruction.
For this reason alone, sympathy for the AP and Al Jazeera wasn’t particularly high among the right:
*Rioters destroy small businesses.
Media – “We cannot equate the loss of life with the loss of property. This is not violence.”
*Israel levels empty tower where media is sharing office space with Hamas
Media – “Literally the worst thing Israel has ever done”
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) May 15, 2021
Property destruction isn’t violence, right? https://t.co/H22CXPcGWi
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 15, 2021
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 15, 2021
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