Overnight, Israel destroyed a building housing operations for the terrorist group Hamas. It also housed the offices of western news agencies, including the Associated Press. Israel warned reporters to leave the building before a missile brought it down.
Now, the Associated Press is saying they had no idea terrorists shared office space with them – for 15 years.
But instead of focusing on the presence of Hamas security forces in what should have been a neutral setting, the Biden administration and the AP are criticizing Israel saying they need to ensure the “safety” of reporters when taking out Hamas targets.
After providing advance warning to civilians & time to evacuate, IDF fighter jets struck a multi-story building containing Hamas military intelligence assets.
The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields. pic.twitter.com/zeDjEquePD
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 15, 2021
Noah Pollak, executive director of the Democratic Alliance Initiative, claimed that the AP knew Hamas occupied the building:
Spoke to a well-placed friend in the IDF just now. The bombed AP office building contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence. The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP's local reporters knew about it.
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) May 15, 2021
It is just one example of news organizations who cry foul when their close association with Hamas is exposed. But it is not an isolated instance. Since Hamas began firing missiles into Israel and other radical groups fuel Palestinian protests on the streets of the Middle East’s only democracy, hundreds of instances of biased reporting have been called out by Israel and media watchdog groups.
In 2014, former AP Jerusalem editor Matti Friedman wrote about how Hamas manipulates and intimidates the media:
In previous rounds of Gaza fighting, Hamas learned that international coverage from the territory could be molded to its needs, a lesson it would implement in this summer’s war. Most of the press work in Gaza is done by local fixers, translators, and reporters, people who would understandably not dare cross Hamas, making it only rarely necessary for the group to threaten a Westerner. The organization’s armed forces could be made to disappear. The press could be trusted to play its role in the Hamas script, instead of reporting that there was such a script. Hamas strategy did not exist, according to Hamas—or, as reporters would say, was “not the story.” There was no Hamas charter blaming Jews for centuries of perfidy, or calling for their murder; this was not the story. The rockets falling on Israeli cities were quite harmless; they were not the story either.
The disproportionate press coverage given Israel continues to surface following violence in Jerusalem and the unprovoked rocket attack by Hamas in Gaza. So far, Palestinians in Gaza have launched over 2,400 rockets on Israeli cities and towns.
Media reports typically start their reports with damage done by Israel to Gaza by targeted strikes eliminating terrorist cells and Hamas-owned buildings. The headlines are replete with reports of hundreds of Palestinians killed in Gaza, failing to mention that 95% of those Hamas terror cells.
But the reporting didn’t t urn on Israel overnight. Media studies have found that reports are typically biased against Israel while playing down atrocities of Palestinian terrorists.
Several weeks of developments in the Israeli and Palestinian arenas culminated with violent clashes on the Temple Mount, and major media outlets tended to fall short when challenged to present an accurate picture of the events.
With rockets raining down on Israel, media reports are focusing on the immediate news and leaving out the details so that audiences do not have the complete context behind what is going on, and in some cases getting it wrong.
Britain’s Sky News tweeted about the attempted lynching of Israelis by a Palestinian mob in Jerusalem by making it seem like it was the fault of the Israelis, describing it thusly: “A car was driven into a group of Palestinian protesters throwing stones, as tensions continued around Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.”
The tweet was accompanied by a link to a detailed Sky News story that carried no mention of the lynching incident, in which a mob of Arabs hurled rocks at an Israeli car and beat the Jewish occupants, trying to drag them from the vehicle.
The driver lost control after being hit in the head by one of the rocks and drove off the road, where the attackers continued to beat the occupants of the car, who were finally rescued by a lone police officer.
Tensions had been rising in the city for several weeks before Jerusalem Day, especially after Arab youth had started filming themselves attacking Jews and uploading the videos to social media.
Now, after hundreds of similar incidents and increasing exhaustion from hourly rocket attacks, Israeli youth pulled an Arab man from his car and beat him. The photos and headlines of that incident spread around the world.
The New York Times, despite the ongoing attacks by Arabs over the last month, chose to limit the background, saying that Monday’s rioting came “after a week of rising tension.”
There have always been tensions surrounding the issue of the Temple Mount, but the Times reporters chose to use only a comment from one Palestinian alleging that “Israel is starting a religious war,” yet failing to either corroborate that allegation or provide the Israeli position.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on the violence were not included in the article, nor was there any other Israeli reaction.
Of the near-lynching of the Jewish driver, the Times used a picture of the incident with the lukewarm caption: “A Palestinian man scuffled with a Jewish man.”
In the past two weeks, as the Palestinians sought an excuse to cancel the long-awaited elections that had been scheduled for May 22, both the Fatah party and its arch-rival, Hamas, have been stoking anti-Israel rhetoric.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on the growing tensions, quoting both Palestinian and Israeli officials, including Netanyahu. However, neither mentioned the internal Palestinian tensions springing from the cancellation of the Palestinian elections. To the Times credit, it did mention the elections.
In fact, the Palestinian president cancelled the elections because it was likely that Hamas would win, thus giving the terrorist organization control over the West Bank.
The wire service reports both appeared to be comprehensive in a bid to get reactions from Israeli and Palestinian officials, however Reuters failed to mention the overnight rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, nor any Hamas role in encouraging violence.
The Wall Street Journal coverage came across as the most comprehensive attempt to hit all the notes, mentioning, albeit not in great detail, the rising tensions in the city. In addition, the Journal report was the only one that acknowledged that Palestinian officials were encouraging violence.
“Both Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Fatah in the West Bank have called on Palestinians to step up confrontations with Israeli.
–Dwight Widaman and wire services