The Associated Press branch office in Palestine comes under the attack. Israeli Prime Minister claims that the office was being used by Hamas for covert infiltration though he fails to provide any evidence.
Hostilities between Israel and Palestine have reached sky high levels. Ever since a week ago, things between the two haven’t been normal and it’s been getting worse by the minute. The last time either of these two left so much destruction in their wake was the 2014 Gaza War. Amidst this chaos, civilians’ only cause for solace was perhaps the reporter’s coverage of this mass carnage, hoping that by bringing the world’s attention to the atrocities being committed in the name of war, some ray of light would shine and the international community would force the warring sides to stand down. That dream is now burnt to ash.
President and CEO of the prominent news outlet Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, today announced that the Israeli military had targeted their branch office in al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza, along with a couple of other news outlets covering the Israel-Palestine conflict during the course of the last few days. According to the Israel military command, the building in question was housing “Hamas militants” intending to use the civilians there as human hostages. In his statement, Pruitt said that neither him or anyone else working in AP had any idea that Hamas controlled active cells within that building. Pruitt also said that he was also “shocked and horrified” to know that the Israelis had opened fire on a building housing journalists without proper warning issued beforehand.
Appearing on CBS “Face the Nation”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was due to address the recent conflict, adamantly reiterated Israel’s previous stance with regards to their attack on AP’s bureau, saying that Israel had taken every precaution to see that the premise was vacated. Quoting Pruitt who had said that an AP reporter got “lucky” to survive the assault, Netanyahu audaciously responded luck had nothing to do with it and Israel had to go through some serious trouble to make sure that the civilians were contacted without alerting the Hamas to their intention. “it wasn’t luck. It’s because we took special pains to call people in those buildings” Netanyahu told the host. Unfortunately, thanks to the sway Netanyahu and his lobbyists hold over the media, it appears that instead of the prime minister, it is AP which is being hammered by the media.
Despite the fact that Pruitt repeatedly assured that AP actively checks for anything out of the place to make sure that no harm would come to their journalists and as far as they were concerned there was nothing connecting that building’s inhabitants to Hamas or any other militants. AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee has said that she would launch an independent investigation into Netanyahu’s claims to see if there was any merit to it but even so, she has a hunch that the attack was staged deliberately in order to scare away the reporters from covering the atrocities and war crimes being committed in the name of conflict. Furthermore, she corroborated Pruitt’s remarks, saying that Israelis have failed to turn over any evidence so far.
All things aside, this latest attempt by Netanyahu’s government has been likened to those policies implemented in the US back in the Nixon era so as to intimidate reporters into not covering the war reports. Just as you know, Sunday marked one of the bloodiest days of the conflict with more that 33 Palestinians dead in the airstrikes. This is while according to the IDF own reports, only 10 Israelis have been killed as a direct result of Hamas missiles. These disproportionate statistics are exactly what has compelled Netanyahu into resorting to scare tactics. Though many claim that Trump was the number one enemy of the free press, it appears that he is about to lose that title to his old buddy if Buzbee’s investigation turns up with something juicy in the near future.