Businessman and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Saturday, 28 October, that SpaceX’s satellite network Starlink will help provide and support communication links in Gaza through aid organizations following Israel’s communication blackout of the Strip.
Starlink is the largest satellite network in the world, employing low Earth orbit technology to provide high-speed internet services that support streaming, online gaming, video calls, and more.
“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza,” Musk said on X on 28 October, in response to a tweet by US member of the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The announcement came following widespread public pressure to use Starlink to restore telecommunications in Gaza. In her tweet, Ocasio-Cortez condemned Israel’s communication blackout of Gaza on X.
“Cutting off all communication to a population of 2.2 million is unacceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez. “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.”
Israel cut off Gaza’s communications and launched its most violent night of airstrikes on Friday, 27 October.
The Conflict So Far
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
As of 27 October, more than 7,028 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including 2,913 children — and 18,482 others injured. Meanwhile 105 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 1,900 have been injured. The casualty count in Gaza since then is unknown after Israel cut off Gaza’s communications and launched its most violent night of airstrikes.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least four times, and three aid conveys have crossed to Gaza so far.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.