EY's office in Gaza destroyed by Israeli air strike

19 May 2021 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

A targeted Israeli air strike has destroyed a high-rise building which was home to EY’s Gaza office. The Big Four firm shared the space with a number of other organisations, with several prominent media brands among its neighbours.

Saed Abdallah, a Partner at EY Palestinian Authority, took to Twitter to reveal that the firm’s offices were part of the building which was destroyed. Abdallah stated, “A very sad moment – minutes ago, our EY office in Gaza was destroyed by an Israeli air strike and the entire tower.”

The reports were soon confirmed Bishr Baker, EY Middle East and North Africa Markets Leader. Baker also put out a brief comment on Twitter attached to a video of the building’s collapse, saying, “This was our EY office … how is this a military target … stop Israel’s terrorism,” before EY Muslim Community put out a lengthy statement via Facebook.

EY's office in Gaza destroyed by Israeli air strike

The note read, “We are deeply saddened upon hearing the news that our office in Gaza has been destroyed by an air strike… We would like to join the United Nation’s call to cease all violence in the area and pray for freedom for oppressed communities globally.”

The group also took the opportunity to remind its members to check with their colleagues and support them in a moment where “they may be affected by increased Islamaphobia and Antisemitism due to current affairs.”

Media concerns

The most recent flare-up in violence in Gaza has its roots in what began a month ago with an Israeli move to block some Palestinian gatherings in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Combined with Israeli police actions against Palestinians protesting being evicted from their homes from an east Jerusalem neighbourhood, the moving in of Israeli police provoked a response from militants in Gaza, who repeatedly warned Israel that the fighting in Jerusalem was a “red line” and vowed to fire rockets if Israeli police did not stop their raids.

In turn, the Israeli military has been ramping up strikes on Gaza. The strike on the high-rise came nearly an hour after the military ordered people to evacuate the al-Jalaa tower. The prominent 12-story building in Gaza City was home to organisations including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.

As Israel continues its military campaign across the Gaza strip, it had offered the world a crucial vantage point from which to understand the crisis – with AP cameras on its roof having captured Israeli bombardments and Palestinian militants’ rocket attacks during periodic flare-ups in fighting – including those in May 2021.

According to the AP’s president, Gary Pruitt, “This is an incredibly disturbing development… The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today.”

The levelling of the building has drawn condemnations from across the world. Press freedom groups in particular have stated that the strike raises concerns that Israel was interfering with independent reporting on the conflict. For example, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists questioned whether Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were now “deliberately targeting media facilities in order to disrupt coverage of the human suffering in Gaza.”

The IDF defended its actions by claiming its fighter jets struck the tower because it contained military assets belonging to the militant group Hamas – something Pruitt strongly rebuffed, adding the company had “no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building.”

It is an allegation which has also accompanied the bombing of hospitals, libraries and other public buildings during the military campaign. Hamas is a militant group (or according to some a terrorist group) funded by Iran which has been staging resistance against the further occupation of Palestine by Israeli settlers for decades.

Meanwhile, earlier today US President Joe Biden told Israel and Palestine that he hopes for a “significant de-escalation” in the conflict, and offered to support with a “path to ceasefire”.