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Musk says Starlink to provide connectivity in Gaza for aid organizations

Published 10/28/2023, 10:46 AM
Updated 10/28/2023, 05:09 PM
© Reuters. File photo: Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter,  attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France, June

By Emily Rose and Baranjot Kaur

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Elon Musk said on Saturday that SpaceX's Starlink will support communication links in Gaza with "internationally recognized aid organizations", prompting Israel's communication minister to say Israel would fight the move.

Musk said in a post on social media platform X that it was not clear who has authority for ground links in Gaza, but we do know that "no terminal has requested a connection in that area".

A telephone and internet blackout isolated people in the Gaza Strip from the world and from each other on Saturday, with calls to loved ones, ambulances or colleagues elsewhere all but impossible as Israel widened its air and ground assault.

International humanitarian organizations said the blackout, which began late on Friday, was worsening an already desperate situation by impeding life-saving operations and preventing contact with their staff on the ground.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment on how it would ensure any Starlink connection was used by aid organizations and not by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip.

Responding to Musk's post on X, Israel's communication minister Shlomo Karhi said Israel "will use all means at its disposal to fight this."

"HAMAS will use it for terrorist activities," Karhi wrote. "Perhaps Musk would be willing to condition it with the release of our abducted babies, sons, daughters, elderly people. All of them! By then, my office will cut any ties with starlink."

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Palestinians charge their mobile phones from a point powered by solar panels provided by Adel Shaheen, an owner of an electric appliances shop, as electricity remains cut during the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip October 19, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Following Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Starlink satellites were reported to have been critical to maintaining internet connectivity in some areas despite attempted Russian jamming.

Since then, Musk has said he declined to extend coverage over Russian-occupied Crimea, refusing to allow his satellites to be used for Ukrainian attacks on Russian forces there.

Latest comments

I assumed starlink was already available. It certainly should be. Any contriversy is disingenious.
This musky odor is getting bad really fast!
Musk - always meddling, always on the wrong side (Russia, China, Hamas, etc.)
I'm staying out of this one.  Not sure that's a good idea or not.
Hamas-Isis thanks Musk for supporting their terror organization.
Israel is an internationally legally recognized state. Not so for Palestine.
they are still a nation as much as israel is.. just because the powers that be don't recognise them don't remove that fact...
It's not some "powers that be" -- that's magaloon talk. It is international law that establishes Israel as a sovereign state. There is no Palestinian state under international law, and I'm sure you acknowledge this or you could not otherwise say that one should be created.
Wow.. balls of steel. This mf is smt else
Will Musk decide to turn off and on the system as he (or his master, Putin) pleases like he does in Ukraine?
if i were israel i'd tell musk he breaks their blackout they shoot down his starlink satelites
Their missiles can't go that high.
Their missiles can't go that high.
 i wouldn't take bets against israel - they decide to turn there systems against musk he has problems
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