A former Israeli general says the aerial attack which was conducted by the Israeli military on a tower that housed offices of media outlets in Gaza during the regime’s latest onslaught on the besieged strip was an “own goal” that caused more damage to Israel’s image than the alleged operational benefit it induced.
“Bringing down the tower with the AP offices was equivalent to a self-inflicted ‘public relations terror attack’ and an own goal, in our view,” Major General Nitzan Alon, former head of Israeli military’s operations, said at a conference on Sunday.
On May 15, Israel launched an airstrike on al-Jalaa tower, which housed the AP among other media outlets, after giving a one-hour ultimatum for the evacuation of the 12-story building, razing it to the ground.
The attack drew worldwide condemnation, including from American lawmakers.
“Not everyone in the IDF believes this, but I am convinced that this was a mistake. The operational benefit was not worth the damage that it caused diplomatically and in terms of perception,” said Alon, who led the military’s investigation into the PR-related issues connected to the recent aggression, using an acronym for the Israeli military.
Tel Aviv initially claimed that the building housed offices for the Hamas resistance movement.
After it came under fire for targeting civilian property, the Israeli military claimed the building contained “special” Hamas equipment.
Sally Buzbee, the AP’s executive editor, said that the news agency had had offices in the tower for 15 years and was never informed or had any indication that Hamas might be operating in the structure.
Tel Aviv launched a brutal bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, following Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east al-Quds.
About 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children, and thousands more were injured.
In response, Palestinian resistance movements, chief among them Hamas, launched Operation al-Quds Sword and fired more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories, killing 12 Israelis.
Apparently caught off guard by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.