Israel Says Starlink Can Only Operate with its Approval in Gaza
In a recent development, Israel has stipulated that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network will require Israeli approval to operate in the Gaza Strip.
This announcement was made as Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla, engaged with Israeli officials during his visit to the country this week, which occurred amidst heightened tensions over claims of antisemitism on his social media platform, X, reports The Financial Times.
Musk’s proposition to deploy Starlink to assist aid organizations in Gaza, a region that has experienced extensive power outages amidst conflict, was met with reservation by Israeli authorities. Shlomo Karhi, the Israeli communications minister, asserted on X that the operation of Starlink satellite units in Israel, including Gaza, must be sanctioned by the Ministry of Communications.
No confirmation of an agreement has been made public by Musk, who visited Israel for the first time since the conflict escalated on October 7, resulting in significant casualties and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The visit aligns with a temporary cessation of hostilities and occurs against the backdrop of mounting pressure from advertisers on X over a surge in antisemitic content.
Musk has been under scrutiny after appearing to support an antisemitic conspiracy theory, a move condemned by a White House spokesperson as “abhorrent.” Musk has since denied any allegations of discrimination on X, insisting on his positive intentions for humanity.
During his visit, Musk was seen in a flak jacket, documenting the devastation in Kfar Aza, and subsequently posted a cryptic message on X, emphasizing actions over words.
That is my goal
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 27, 2023
The commitment to activate Starlink in Gaza followed telecommunications disruptions in the region, which Israeli officials argue could potentially aid Hamas in their operations. However, Musk indicated that, despite previous announcements, no attempts to connect to Starlink had been made from Gaza, where the movement of goods is stringently controlled by Israel.
The conflict, which has spanned seven weeks, saw instances where Israel reportedly disrupted communications in Gaza. During this period, the local mobile provider faced challenges maintaining service continuity due to fuel shortages.
Improved connectivity in Gaza was reported by NetBlocks, an internet access tracker, following network repairs by Paltel engineers during a break in the conflic