Elon Musk Announces Starlink's Plan to Provide Connectivity in Gaza Through Aid Organisations
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, revealed that Starlink, the satellite internet service, will support communication links in Gaza through "internationally recognised aid organisations."
This announcement has sparked a response from Israel's communication minister, who stated that Israel would oppose the move.
Musk made the announcement on social media platform X, highlighting the need for communication links in Gaza. He acknowledged that it is unclear who has authority over ground links in the region but emphasised that no terminal has requested a connection in that area.
The Gaza Strip has been experiencing a telephone and internet blackout, isolating its residents from the rest of the world. This blackout has made it nearly impossible for people to make calls to loved ones or access essential services. International humanitarian organisations have expressed concern about the worsening situation, as the blackout hampers life-saving operations and hinders communication with their staff on the ground.
While Musk's announcement has been met with support from aid organisations, Israel's communication minister, Shlomo Karhi, expressed opposition. Karhi raised concerns about the potential misuse of the Starlink connection by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. He called on Musk to condition the connectivity with the release of abducted individuals.
SpaceX has not yet responded to Reuters' request for comment on how it plans to ensure that the Starlink connection is used exclusively by aid organisations and not by Hamas.
It is worth noting that Starlink's satellites have previously played a crucial role in maintaining internet connectivity in areas affected by conflicts. During Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Starlink satellites helped maintain internet access despite attempted Russian jamming. However, Musk declined to extend coverage over Russian-occupied Crimea, refusing to support Ukrainian attacks on Russian forces.
Elon Musk announced that Starlink will provide connectivity in Gaza through aid organisations.
The announcement has drawn opposition from Israel's communication minister, who expressed concerns about potential misuse.
The Gaza Strip is currently experiencing a telephone and internet blackout, exacerbating an already desperate situation.