Over the past 24 hours, Israeli ground forces have escalated their attacks in Gaza, preparing for a potential large-scale ground operation aimed at the militant group Hamas.
According to NetBlocks, a network analysis website, all internet and phone services in the region have been severed. Meanwhile, on the ‘free speech’ platform X, some users are urging Elon Musk to assist Gaza by providing Starlink terminals, mirroring his support in Ukraine.
— دعسُوقة (@ladybug__9) October 27, 2023
We demand to see what’s happening pic.twitter.com/ceqCfKEy3X
— Awaited Hope (@Awaited_Hope) October 27, 2023
We demand starlink service to Gaza. The way you did for Ukraine.
— Begum Hamza (@BegumHamza) October 28, 2023
On Friday, NetBlocks posted on X, “Live network data show a collapse in connectivity in the Gaza Strip with high impact on Paltel amid reports of heavy bombardment; the company is the last remaining major operator to supply service as connectivity declines amid ongoing fighting with Israel.”
In response to the internet outage, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America, a party that has had many members chant antisemitic slogans and display pro-Hamas signs in protests, criticised Israel’s bombardments in Gaza.
Musk responded to AOC’s X post:
“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognised aid organisations in Gaza.”
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. https://t.co/L9iV7TSs2u
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 27, 2023
Musk, the owner of X, Tesla, and SpaceX, has provided a digital lifeline for soldiers and civilians in Ukraine amid the war with Russia.
Of course, there was pushback by pro-Israel twitterati, but Musk rapidly responded to clarify…
We are not so naive.
Per my post, no Starlink terminal has attempted to connect from Gaza.
If one does, we will take extraordinary measures to confirm that it is used only for purely humanitarian reasons.
Moreover, we will do a security check with both the US and Israeli governments before turning on even a single terminal.
Interestingly, despite some of AOC’s colleagues previously criticising the billionaire based on a misleading report from his biographer regarding internet service disruptions in Ukraine, they now find themselves seeking his assistance.