The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli officials say Israel showed the United States “hard evidence” that Hamas was in the Associated Press office building.
“We showed them hard evidence that proves Hamas came out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said.” I know they found the explanation satisfactory.
Photo: Smoke rises from a missile near a tower of the Associated Press Al Jazeera (C) during an Israeli missile attack on Gaza City on May 15, 2021.
Israel, U.S. Share Intelligence, Show Hard Evidence
Jerusalem officials said Sunday that Israel shared intelligence with the United States showing how Hamas was operating from the same building in Gaza as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
Officials from multiple government departments confirmed that Biden’s phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was in part about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and U.S. officials the intelligence behind the operation.
“We showed them hard evidence that proves Hamas came out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said.” I know they found the explanation satisfactory. “
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the source’s account when asked about the Jerusalem Post report in an interview with the U.S. television program “Face the Nation.
“We shared all the intelligence with our American friends,” Netanyahu said.” The intelligence we received was that an intelligence office (of Hamas) was located in the building, and that the building planned and organized terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. It was a perfectly legitimate target.
Netanyahu added that the airstrike on the building “did not result in any deaths” because Israel took measures to avoid harming civilians, including giving advance warning.
Another senior Israeli official acknowledged that the explosion occurred two days after a tweet by the IDF and that some foreign media misreported the entry of ground troops into Gaza, making the situation more difficult from a public diplomacy perspective.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the ministry had briefed thousands of journalists on the matter over the past day, including a joint briefing with the IDF and police for foreign media on Saturday night.
80% of countries issue statements in support of Israel’s right to self-defense
But in government-to-government diplomacy, Israeli officials believe the situation remains good.
The United States was the only country to ask the IDF about the raid on the building, which the Israeli military says houses Hamas military intelligence, the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, other news media and other offices and apartments.
“According to the analysis done by the Foreign Ministry (Sunday), 80 percent of the 90 countries we spoke with in recent days issued official statements supporting Israel’s right to self-defense. They did not call for a halt to the operation,” a Foreign Ministry source said.
Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi has also spoken with more than 30 foreign ministers around the world.
“We remain in a positive position in terms of the legitimacy of the operation,” the Foreign Ministry source added, adding that “there is very clear support for Israel’s position that terrorism crossed the line.”
AP and Al Jazeera buildings used as shields by Hamas
On Saturday, the IAF struck the 12-story tower in Gaza with an hour’s warning.
“The building houses offices for civilian media, behind which the terrorist organization Hamas hides and uses them as human shields,” the IDF said in a statement.” The terrorist organization Hamas deliberately placed its military assets in the center of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip. Before launching the attack, the IDF warned civilians inside the building and gave them enough time to evacuate.
After Operation Protective Border in 2014, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman wrote in The Atlantic, “Hamas understands that it can intimidate journalists if necessary, and they will not report on these intimidation operations …… AP staffers in Gaza City would have witnessed rocket fire next to their offices, endangering journalists and other civilians in the neighborhood – but the AP would not report, not even in the AP article, on Israeli claims that Hamas was firing rockets from residential areas.
In light of the attack on the Gaza building, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Saturday offered “unwavering support” to AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt, saying “it is essential to have these stories in conflict zones.
The Associated Press and Al Jazeera strongly condemned the airstrike.
Associated Press President Gary Pruitt called the airstrike “a deeply troubling development. He said more than a dozen AP reporters and freelancers were in the building, but were evacuated in time.
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the offices of the Associated Press and other news organizations in Gaza,” he said, adding that “the world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.
Dr. Mostefa Souag, acting director general of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network, called the attack “barbaric” and said Israel should be held responsible.
The purpose of this heinous crime was to silence the media and cover up the unspeakable carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza,” he said in a statement.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the IDF’s International Media Division, dismissed the notion that Israel was trying to silence the media. “This is completely wrong – the media is not the target,” he told Reuters.