As the Israel-Gaza conflict escalated, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decided to hit the Al Jala building in Gaza city which houses the office of US-based Associated Press and Qatar-based Al Jazeera, apart from several other media offices. The entire Western liberal media is now criticising the IDF, regardless of what the IDF has to say, and we don’t have to explain why given the anti-Israel bias.
But let us tell you Israel’s version of the story and the relevance of a 2014 story published in The Atlantic story authored authored authored by former Associated Press journalist Matti Friedman.
At the outset, IDF claimed that the destruction of the high rise building housing the said media offices were also being used by the Hamas military intelligence. The IDF has also claimed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad also had other offices in the Al Jala building.
The IDF further alleged that Hamas military intelligence’s research and development unit operated from the said building. It also claimed that the Hamas unit was responsible for several “acts of sabotage” against Israel.
The IDF also stated, “The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields.”
Associated Press (AP) has, on the other hand, pushed back against these allegations. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said, “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.”
But this is where the 2014 report authored by Matti Friedman in The Atlantic becomes extremely relevant. Let us give you some context- Hamas and IDF had shared hostilities in 2014, following which it came to light that Hamas had used residential areas for launching rockets at Israel so that Gazan civilians come in the line of crossfire. Ultimately, the Western world used its human rights lobby and mainstream media to blame Israel for civilian deaths.
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
Anyhow, Friedman made some shocking revelations about the conflict and its biased coverage by the international media. However, we are concerned with what the former AP journalist about the international news publication’s Gaza office.
“AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office.. the AP wouldn’t report it
— Gabe Hoffman (@GabeHoff) May 16, 2021
Friedman wrote, “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.”
The journalist added, ” Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it.”
As per Friedman, AP spokesperson confirmed that armed militants entered the AP office in Gaza in the earlier period of the war, complaining about a photo showing the location of a rocket launch. Hamas however claimed that the armed men “did not represent the group.”
Friedman either had first-hand knowledge of how IDF would launch an airstrike on the Al Jala building, or the former journalist made the shocking revelations with background knowledge of the matter. The former is, of course, next to impossible. Friedman’s 2014 report suggests that AP staff was aware of Hamas activities near or “right beside” the Gaza office.
The Atlantic report was published over six years ago, and the Israel-Gaza war in 2014 predated the said report. The IDF today is claiming to have struck the high-rise Al Jala building broadly on the basis of similar intelligence input, as the allegations made by Friedman in the 2014 report.
The entire Western-liberal ecosystem may be busy blaming Israel for the airstrikes on the Al Jala building. But the IDF and a 2014 Atlantic report have a different story to tell.