Ambassador Gilad Erdan with AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt
Ambassador Gilad Erdan with AP President and CEO Gary PruittNo credit

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan visited the Associated Press headquarters in New York where he met with President and CEO Gary Pruitt and Vice President of International News Ian Phillips. During his visit, Ambassador Erdan reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and ensures the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting.

Ambassador Erdan reiterated that the multistory building housing the AP in Gaza, which was destroyed last month in an airstrike, also housed the facilities of Hamas’ military intelligence, its R&D department and a tech unit.

“The unit was developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome defense system,” said Ambassador Erdan, officially informing for the first time why Hamas’ operation in that building posed such an imminent threat to Israeli civilians and was prioritized by the IDF.

Ambassador Erdan added that “AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel doesn’t think that AP employees were aware it was being cynically used in this way by Hamas for a secret unit.”

The ambassador went on to assure the news agency that “Israel did everything it could to make sure that no employees or civilians were hurt during this important operation.”

“In contrast, Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization that has no regard for the press. It purposely places its terror machine in civilian areas, including in offices being used by international media outlets,” he said.

The ambassador commended the AP as “a global media outlet that has covered some of the most important events in history over the past 175 years.” Moreover, he assured Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Phillips that “Israel is willing to assist the Associated Press in rebuilding its offices and operations in Gaza.”