AP Editor Warns World Will 'Know Less' About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict After Bureau Bombing

Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of The Associated Press, warned on Sunday that the world will "know less" about the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinians— after Israeli military airstrikes took down the building housing the media organization's Gaza bureau.

The 12-story building, which was bombed by Israel on Saturday, also housed Qatar's Al Jazeera as well as other international media outlets covering the ongoing conflict. Israel has said that the Palestinian militant group Hamas was operating out of the building, and Israeli authorities warned the journalists before bombing the building.

"I think the reality of the situation is that that office in Gaza is in a critical location and this does impact the world's right to know on both sides of the conflict in real time," Buzbee said during a Sunday interview with CNN's Reliable Sources.

Here's my interview with the AP's @SallyBuzbee about the Gaza bureau bombing. "We're looking for some temporary quarters" in Gaza, she said, and trying to ensure "that this does not disrupt the important mission of telling the world what is happening in this conflict right now." pic.twitter.com/2ID4eb6hwj

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 16, 2021

"That's a very important thing to keep in mind. It impairs the ability to report events in Gaza in real time. It reduces the flow of information coming from Gaza. It hampers the ability to tell the story fairly on both sides," the top AP editor explained.

"It does not, however, silence AP," she asserted.

Buzbee said that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is "an important story." She said that because of the Israeli airstrike "the world is going to know less." The editor called for an independent investigation into the incident and stressed that Israel had never previously told the AP of alleged Hamas activity in the building.

Buzbee explained that the Gaza bureau had been housed in the building for 15 years.

In a Sunday interview with CBS News' Face the Nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the strike on the building. The Israeli leader again said that Hamas was operating from the same building, emphasizing that the media organization was warned before the strike.

"We share with our American friends all that intelligence and here's the intelligence we had, it's about Palestinian terrorist—an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes the terror attacks against Israeli civilians," Netanyahu said.

"So it's a perfectly legitimate target. And I can tell you that we took every precaution to make sure that there were no civilian injuries. In fact, no deaths, no injuries whatsoever," the prime minister said.

Jala Tower
Palestinian journalists cover the destroyed Jala Tower, which was housing international press offices, following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on May 15. An Israeli air strike demolished the building housing Qatar's Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press in the Gaza Strip MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt pushed back against Israel's claims about Hamas operating from the tower on Saturday.

"We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building," Pruitt insisted. "This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk."

At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing violence, including 55 children, according to the AP. More than 1,200 have been injured. Meanwhile, eight people have been killed in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy.

Newsweek reached out to Netanyahu's office and the Israeli Foreign Ministry for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.