To the editor:
It is understandable that The Salem News would echo the Associated Press in its condemnation of Israel’s decision to conduct an air strike on the al-Jalla Tower (”An airstrike on journalism,” May 20).
The AP may question that its offices were located in the same building as Hamas, but it seems reasonable to ask if Israel would risk the opprobrium that would surely come its way after destroying the building if Hamas assets were not present in the high-rise.
AP reporters would likely keep quiet about the presence of terrorists in other parts of the building they worked in.
In 2014, former AP staffer Matti Friedman reported that AP reporters witnessed Hamas rocket teams launching projectiles from near their offices, “endangering reporters and civilians nearby.” AP journalists would not report on these launches, “even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas,” Friedman wrote.
Friedman also stated that “Hamas fighters would burst into AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report on it.” He also stated that cameramen would refrain from documenting the arrival of wounded and dead Hamas fighters at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, “helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying.”
All this led Friedman to conclude that the “pipeline” of information from Gaza was “intentionally plugged” by Hamas.
It is one thing for journalists to condemn Israel for striking a building, but another thing altogether for them to report openly about Hamas intimidation of journalists in Gaza.
Dexter Van Zile
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis