The Associated Press and other news agencies sent out a slew of alerts this week accusing Israel of bombing their building in Gaza. The AP’s top editor is calling for an investigation into Israel while claiming no knowledge of any Hamas terrorists working out of the media building. If the accusations being hurled are true, it’s a bad look for Israel. But as with anything regarding conflict with Hamas and Israel, the key phrase is always, “if it’s true.”
And that’s the problem with this story. There’s no reason to believe a word of the AP’s framing for this story.
The first problem is that there’s plenty of evidence that Hamas — a terrorist organization being funded by Iran — was using that building for terrorist activities. Israel presented the United States with “smoking gun” evidence that Hamas was using the building — an explanation that the U.S. found “satisfactory.” The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) sent warnings to evacuate the building before sending a precision airstrike. Even former Obama administration officials believe this as a fact.
More will come out about that specific strike since it’s become a meaningful story due to the press making it about itself. But beyond that, using civilian or press headquarters as a base of operations is a classic tactic of Hamas. We know this both through experience and reporting from former AP journalists.
For instance, former AP reporter Matti Friedman, who has been in Israel going back to the 1990s, said that “During the 2008-2009 Gaza fighting I personally erased a key detail — that Hamas fighters were dressed as civilians and being counted as civilians in the death toll — because of a threat to our reporter in Gaza.” His experience has been proven multiple times over after any critical look at the numbers put out by the Gazan Health Ministry (GHM). The GHM is an arm of Hamas and pumps out propaganda that gets reported as fact by western journalists.
Friedman offered even more perspective of events in a 2014 piece in The Atlantic. What he describes is Hamas using the international press as part of their toolkit to attack Israel:
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. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.)
Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)
If that sounds familiar, it should. It’s almost a line-for-line description of the building Israel just destroyed. That doesn’t mean it’s the same building — but these are the same tactics that Hamas has used for decades.
Hamas uses the international press as part of their plan to both delegitimize Israel as a country and kill Jews. That’s an explicit part of the Hamas charter going back to 1988 — the complete eradication of Jews, no matter how long it takes, no matter the cost.
And as evil as all that is, it’s par for the course from the AP to do anything to appease evil groups to maintain “access.” Multiple studies from independent scholars, journalists, and even the AP have revealed that the AP was nothing more than a complicit mouthpiece during the rise of the Nazis, even purging its staff in Germany of Jews.
The AP did the same for North Korea, allowing that tin-pot dictatorship to dictate what the outside world knew. “The ‘bureau’ in Pyongyang … was not staffed by AP reporters from outside the country: The full-time staffers were North Koreans who were paid by AP but answered to the regime.”
The same is unquestionably happening in Israel, with the AP providing aid and comfort to Hamas in the name of access. These journalists aren’t speaking the truth to any power. They’re complicit in helping actual terrorists who want to murder innocent men, women and children.
If these same events were happening in the United States, no one would bat an eyelash if Americans went in and killed every last single Hamas operative. Suppose Hamas was launching missiles at America on an hourly basis. In that case, we’d have troops on their doorstep with the complete agreement of the American public.
In Israel, however, we’re told it’s a complicated issue. And assuredly, there are complex issues in dealing with Israel, its geography, and its politics. But self-defense from a terrorist organization that seeks your ultimate destruction is not a complicated issue. Israel should be allowed to protect itself and remove threats sitting on and around its border, trying to murder innocent civilians.
That’s not complicated. And the United States should be offering immediate military and defense aid to Israel in ending this threat.