Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly called out the Associated Press for claiming not to know that an Israeli airstrike was heading for their bureau in Gaza City because of evidence that Hamas was occupying the building, noting that Israel had taken “special pains” to make sure the building was vacated.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt claimed in a statement that he was “shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.” He also claimed that the AP didn’t know that Hamas was “active in the building.”
“One of the, I think, AP journalists said we were lucky to get out,” Netanyahu said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “No, you weren’t lucky to get out. It wasn’t luck. It’s because we took special pains to call people in those buildings, to make sure that the premises were vacated.”
The AP was ripped on Sunday after claiming to not know that Hamas occupied the same building as them, Al Jazeera and other media.
“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” Pruitt insisted. “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”
Yet readers dug up a 2014 piece from The Atlantic arguing the opposite.
“When Hamas’s 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,” the article reads.
“Why do you think we brought down that building,” Netanyahu asked CBS’ John Dickerson on Sunday, noting that their intelligence suggested that Hamas was carrying out military operations in the structure they’d just targeted.
Netanyahu warned Hamas that they will do “whatever it takes” to defend themselves.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet, and the security of our people and deterrence,” Netanyahu said. “We’re trying to degrade Hamas’ terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again.”
The carnage between Israel and Hamas is at its worst since the 2014 Gaza War and has so far claimed the lives of over 145 Palestinians and 10 Israelis, according to Reuters.
President Biden spoke with leaders of both Israel and the Palestinian authority over the weekend, in which he “reaffirmed his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza” and told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that Hamas must cease its rocket fire on Israel, according to a White House readout.