The National Press Club has demanded that Israel stop attacking buildings in Gaza that house media organizations, saying such attacks raise the question of whether it is trying to impede coverage of its conflict with the Palestinians.
An Israeli missile destroyed a building that had the offices of the AP, Al Jazeera and other outlets, while its warplanes attacked other facilities that housed more than a dozen international and local media organizations.
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on May 16 the bombed AP, Al Jazeera building was also used by an intelligence office of Hamas.
“The Israeli airstrike on an office tower in Gaza Saturday is part of a pattern this week of Israeli forces destroying buildings in Gaza that house media organizations," said a joint statement from NPC president Lisa Nicole Matthews and NPC Journalist Institute president Angela Greiling Keane.
They called on Israeli authorities to halt strikes on facilities known to house press. “Reliable media organizations are the best sources of accurate information about events in Gaza, and they must not be prevented from doing their vital job,” said the statement.
Sally Buzbee, AP executive editor, called for an independent investigation of the attack on the 12-story al-Jalaa tower in Gaza City.
She noted that AP was a tenant in the building for 15 years and had no indication that Hamas shared the building.
Al Jazeera said the bombing was a “clear sign” of Israel trying to put an end to media coverage in the Gaza Strip.
“The aim of this heinous crime is to silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza,” said Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network. “The destruction of Al Jazeera offices and that of other media organizations in al-Jalaa tower in Gaza is a blatant violation of human rights and is internationally considered a war crime.”