As media organizations attack Israel over its destruction of a building that it says housed Hamas offices as well as The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, Israel is placidly brushing aside the complaints.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders wants the International Criminal Court to investigate the bombing, according to The Times of Israel.
The group claims that Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza after more than 3,000 rockets had been fired into Israel destroyed the offices of 23 international and local media organizations.
The fact that the building would have been used for shielding by Hamas or other combattants doesn’t allow turning the media into military objectives, that is a war crime. #Gaza
— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) May 15, 2021
The group said the Israeli military’s “intentional targeting of media organizations and intentional destruction of their equipment” could violate one an ICC statute. It added that the attacks serve “to reduce, if not neutralize, the media’s capacity to inform the public.”
Al Jazeera issued a statement calling the strike “a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground.”
“Al Jazeera calls on all media and human right institutions to join forces in denouncing these ruthless bombings and to hold the government of Israel accountable for deliberately targeting journalists and media institutions.”
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement that after 15 years in the now-destroyed building, “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.”
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” he said. “This is an incredibly disturbing development.”
“We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a “senior diplomatic source” told the outlet. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not the least apologetic during an interview.
“Well, we share with our American friends all that intelligence, and here’s the intelligence we had, it’s about an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes the terror attacks against Israeli civilians. So it’s a perfectly legitimate target,” he said in a Sunday interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“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, 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.”
During his CBS interview, Netanhayu noted that Israel worked to avoid any loss of life in the strike.
“And I can tell you that we took every precaution to make sure that there were no civilian injuries. In fact, no deaths, no injuries whatsoever. Well, I can’t say injuries, I don’t know if somebody received a fragment of a stone. I don’t know that. But no people were killed. Now, imagine ask yourself, how is that possible?” he said.
“You see these high-rise towers that are used by Hamas over and over again. They collapse and no one is killed. Why does that happen? Because we, unlike Hamas, take special precautions to tell people, leave the building, leave the premises. We make sure that everyone is gone before we bring down those terrorist facilities.
“And that’s the difference between Israel and Hamas. They deliberately target our cities, deliberately target our civilians. They glorify the death of children and civilians and old people. They are happy with it. I think they’re happy with any deaths that are caused to them.”
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