Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite service will provide internet access to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza, which have been experiencing a telecommunications blackout since Friday.
Starlink to Provide Internet Access for Aid Organizations in Gaza Amidst Communications Blackout
In response to a post by US Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemning the communications blackout in Gaza as “unacceptable,” Elon Musk announced that his Starlink satellite service will support internet connectivity for internationally recognized aid organizations in the region. Starlink, a network of satellites in low Earth orbit, is capable of providing internet access to remote locations or areas with disabled communications infrastructure.
The blackout has caused UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to lose contact with their teams in the Gaza Strip. Lynn Hastings, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, emphasized the importance of communications for hospitals and humanitarian operations, stating that they cannot continue without it.
The Head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed the need for Starlink’s support to establish communication with staff and health facilities in Gaza. The loss of communication has hindered their ability to provide assistance effectively.
The telecommunications blackout in Gaza is a result of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Israeli officials claim that Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking over 220 hostages. In contrast, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza reported that Israeli strikes have killed 7,703 people, primarily civilians, including 3,500 children.
This is not the first time Starlink has been deployed in a conflict zone. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Musk’s satellite internet service was also deployed in Ukraine. The network has proven to be a vital tool for high-tech soldiers operating in areas with limited communication capabilities.
In September, Musk revealed that he denied an emergency request from Ukrainian government authorities to activate Starlink in Sevastopol, potentially saving Russia’s Black Sea navy fleet from being sunk. This statement drew criticism from Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
As Starlink continues to expand its reach, it is increasingly being recognized as a valuable resource for providing internet connectivity in remote and conflict-affected areas. With its deployment in Gaza, internationally recognized aid organizations will be able to restore communication and continue their vital work in the region.