Pro-Israel Senator Menendez Issues Rare Rebuke Over Gaza Media Offices Strike

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, long a supporter of Israel, says he's troubled by reports of death of civilians and targeting of media offices

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
An explosion is seen near a tower housing AP, Al Jazeera offices during Israeli missile strikes in Gaza City, today.
An explosion is seen near a tower housing AP, Al Jazeera offices during Israeli missile strikes in Gaza City, today.Credit: REUTERS/Ashraf Abu Amrah
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON - Sen. Robert Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and perhaps the most ardent Democratic supporter of Israel in the Senate, issued rare criticism of Israel after airstrikes destroyed a building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.

"I am deeply troubled by reports of Israeli military actions that resulted in the death of innocent civilians in Gaza as well as Israeli targeting of buildings housing international media outlets," Menendez said.

The 12-story al-Jalaa building also contains other offices and apartments, and was evacuated after advance warning of the strike was given. The Israeli military said the building "contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization" and that it had provided advance warning.

Menendez implored Israel to continue taking "the conscientious practice of giving advance warning of its attacks to reduce the harm to the innocent." The New Jersey senator added that he believes there must be a "full accounting of actions that have led to civilian deaths and destruction of media outlets."

Menendez defended Israel's right to self-defense and condemned Hamas rocket fire, but said that "no matter how dangerous and real that threat may be, I have always believed the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship flourishes when it is based on the shared values of democracy, freedom, pluralism, and respect for human rights and the rule of law."

Senator Robert Menendez at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, last month.Credit: Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP

Menendez has long been a favorite of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington. He has offered consistent, vocal support for Israel throughout his 15 years in the Senate during all previous Israeli military operations in Gaza and was one of four Democrats to vote against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

According to Gaza's health ministry, 145 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes during the current military operation, including 41 children and 23 women, and 1,100 wounded.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott