White House says it 'communicated directly' to Israelis after media building was bombed
- The White House has spoken with the Israeli government after its military destroyed a building that houses media outlets.
- Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House told Israel that the safety of the media is of "paramount responsibility."
- The Israeli military executed an airstrike that destroyed the building that houses journalists working for the AP and Al Jazeera.
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The White House has communicated with Israeli officials following the Israeli military's airstrike that destroyed the building that houses media outlets, the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.
"We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet Saturday.
According to The New York Times, the Israel Defense Forces claimed it struck the building because it contained military assets belonging to Hamas.
Gary Pruitt, the president and CEO of The Associated Press, on Saturday said in a statement he was "horrified" after the military destroyed the building that housed its local bureau. He said about a dozen journalists working for the AP had to quickly evacuate the building.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
People inside the building reportedly received a one-hour evacuation notice ahead of the airstrike and were not permitted to remove any of their equipment.
Al Jazeera also condemned the airstrike in a statement Saturday.
"Al Jazeera calls on all media and human rights institutions to join forces in denouncing these ruthless bombings and to hold the government of Israel accountable for deliberately targeting journalists and media institutions," it said.
"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," said Mostefa Souag, the acting director-general of Al Jazeera Media Network.
As Insider's John Haltiwanger noted, Biden last week expressed continued support for Israel, putting him at odds with some members of his own party who have grown increasingly critical of Israel.
"Israel has the right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory," Biden told reporters last week.
"My hope is that we'll see this coming to a conclusion sooner than later," he added.
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