Musk says that Starlink will provide connectivity to help organisations in Gaza. Elon Musk announced on Saturday that SpaceX’s Starlink will facilitate communication ties in Gaza with “internationally recognised aid organisations,” causing Israel’s communication minister to declare that the plan will be opposed.
Musk says that Starlink will provide connectivity to help organisations in Gaza
Musk stated in a post on the social networking platform X that it is unclear who has responsibility over ground links in Gaza, but that “no terminal has requested a connection in that area.”
On Saturday, the Gaza Strip was cut off from the rest of the world and from each other, with calls to loved ones, ambulances, or coworkers elsewhere nearly impossible as Israel expanded its air and ground assault.
No terminals from Gaza have attempted to communicate with our constellation.
SpaceX will support communication links with internationally recognized aid organizations.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2023
International humanitarian organisations said the blackout, which began late Friday, was exacerbating an already dire situation by hindering life-saving efforts and blocking contact with their ground teams.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on how it would ensure that any Starlink connection was used by charity organisations rather than the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza.
In response to Musk’s X tweet, Israel’s communication minister, Shlomo Karhi, stated that Israel “will use all means at its disposal to fight this.”
“HAMAS will use it for terrorist activities,” wrote Karhi. “Perhaps Musk would be willing to condition it on the release of our kidnapped babies, sons, daughters, and senior citizens.” Every single one of them! By then, my office will have severed all links with Starlink.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Starlink satellites were said to have been important in sustaining internet service in certain locations despite Russian jamming attempts.
Musk has since stated that he will not expand coverage over Russian-occupied Crimea because he does not want his satellites to be used for Ukrainian strikes on the Russian military there.