Apartheid Israel Destroys Gaza Press Tower in Attempt to Silence Journalists

by Paul Gregoire
Gaza press tower collapse

Israeli defence forces destroyed the 12 storey al-Jalaa apartment and office tower building in Gaza on Saturday afternoon.

Along with five stories of offices and floors containing residential apartments, the building just happened to house the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera on its top levels.

The IDF gave residents and workers one hour’s warning before it sent in fighter jets to level the building.

Apartheid Israel cited concerns around the “military interests of the Hamas intelligence” as a reason for the targeting the tower, which is a common phrase used to facilitate attacks.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened,” Associated Press president and CEO Gary Pruitt told Al Jazeera. “The impact will be to reduce the flow of information coming from Gaza.”

Al Jazeera host Peter Dobbie suggested in a question to Pruitt that “the optics, maybe, smack of desperation, perhaps, because if you want to stop the message getting out, you destroy literally the equipment that the messengers, the journalists, would use”.

And while the AP boss said he couldn’t speculate on the reason, Dobbie’s comments suggest the most obvious assumption to be made as to why the tower was taken out.

Randa Abdel-Fattah addresses the Palestine solidarity rally in Sydney

Global solidarity with Palestine

The Netanyahu government commenced its onslaught upon the open air prison that is Gaza on the evening of 3 May, following Hamas having fired rockets in response to Israeli police attacking unarmed Palestinians in Central Jerusalem that day, which had resulted in 700 civilians being injured.

As of 7 May, close to 200 Palestinians civilians had been killed in Gaza, over 1,000 had been injured, while around 17,000 Palestinians had been made homeless.

Despite the mainstream media coverage of the escalating violence having been heavily biased towards Israel, thousands of people around the globe turned out on the streets last week to show their solidarity with Palestinians.

Across Australia, tens of thousands rallied beneath Palestinian flags. In Sydney, the whole area along George Street before Sydney Town Hall was occupied last Saturday by protesters calling out the actions of the Israeli regime.

“Put your pressure on the mainstream media to tell the truth and stop enabling the silence of the apartheid settler colonial state that is Israel,” writer Randa Abdel-Fattah implored the protest crowd in Sydney’s CBD.

Pro-Palestinian protesters march down Sydney’s George Street

Disinformation as a weapon

The raids of the Gaza press offices are not the only attempt the Netanyahu regime has made to manipulate the media.

As the New York Times reported, the IDF announced last Friday evening on Twitter, and via its English-speaking spokesperson, that it had commenced a ground offensive into Gaza.

This led international media organisations, like the Times and the Washington Post, to promptly report a major escalation in hostilities in terms of Israel moving to invade the Gaza Strip.

Two hours later, however, the IDF international spokesperson Jonathan Conricus retracted his statement, as no such operation had commenced. And he has since countered assertions that his announcement was a purposeful act to influence events.

But, at the same time as Conricus was backtracking, the Israeli Hebrew press was reporting domestically that the statements were purposefully made so as to lure Hamas troops into a network of tunnels in the north of Gaza, where they could be more easily attacked.

The Israeli press further stated that the IDF had confirmed that the disinformation plan had been successful in its purpose of exposing Hamas fighters, although this has not been verified by the international media.

Main Image: Screenshot taken from Palestine Live footage shows the tower housing Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices being attacked

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Author

Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He has a focus on human rights issues, encroachments on civil liberties, drug law reform, gender diversity and First Nations rights. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, he wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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