SpaceX CEO Elon Musk extended an offer of Starlink internet services to aid organizations operating within Gaza on Saturday.
The region experienced a communications blackout since Friday, with internet and cellular services becoming inaccessible. This disruption occurred after Israel launched attacks on the territory, escalating its ground operations following the October 7 Hamas assaults. The emergency 101 telephone line malfunctioned, rendering ambulances unable to be summoned. This communication breakdown left numerous journalists and aid workers within the Gaza Strip unreachable, as noted by The Guardian.
Addressing this situation, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to X to condemn the authorities responsible for the blackout.
“Cutting off all communication to a population of 2.2 million is unacceptable. Journalists, medical professionals, humanitarian efforts, and innocents are all endangered. I do not know how such an act can be defended. The United States has historically denounced this practice,” Ocasio-Cortez posted.
“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza,” Musk replied on Ocasio-Cortez’s post.
Mark Regev, a senior adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commented on the situation during a BBC Radio 4 interview on Saturday morning. He drew parallels between the actions of the British and American armies, suggesting that disrupting enemy communications is a standard tactic. However, he expressed anticipation for a comprehensive briefing from the Israeli military to ascertain the reasons behind the communication shutdown, as reported by the BBC.
No official confirmation has emerged regarding Starlink’s formal service offer, aside from Musk’s X post. The availability of Starlink terminals, essential for establishing the satellite internet connection within the Gaza Strip, remains uncertain, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shlomo Karhi, Israel’s communications minister, mentioned ongoing discussions with SpaceX about deploying Starlink services, especially in regions adjacent to conflict zones, as reported by Tech Crunch.
Starlink’s role in the Ukraine conflict has previously stirred debates, particularly concerning the influence Musk wielded during the war. Accusations surfaced, alleging Musk’s decision to deactivate the Starlink network in Crimea amid a Ukrainian assault on a Russian naval fleet the previous year, questioning his influence.
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