NewsStarlink in the Gaza Strip: Israel's intense reaction to Musk's statement

Starlink in the Gaza Strip: Israel's intense reaction to Musk's statement

Elon Musk announced Starlink's help in Gaza. Israel reacts.
Elon Musk announced Starlink's help in Gaza. Israel reacts.
Images source: © Getty Images | Nathan Howard

3:12 AM EDT, October 29, 2023, updated: 3:59 AM EDT, October 29, 2023

Elon Musk revealed that his Starlink system would aid communication between aid organizations in the Gaza Strip. His statement was met with a heated response from the Israeli Minister of Communication, who asserted that Hamas could exploit the Starlink satellites for their terrorist activities.

Elon Musk stated on X (formerly Twitter) that the Starlink satellite communication system would bolster the operations of aid organizations which are providing essential support to civilians in the Gaza Strip. There have been multiple instances of communication breakdowns, particularly between WHO (World Health Organization) and its staff in Gaza. Representatives from Doctors Without Borders have voiced similar concerns.

Due to the bombings conducted by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip, the area is experiencing a comprehensive power outage, causing nearly complete loss of electricity. Consequently, it's understandable that their internet connectivity has also taken a hit under these conditions.

Israel's Minister of Communication, Shlomo Karhi, offered a rebuttal to Musk's announcement. He expressed concern that Hamas terrorists could misuse Starlink to target the Israeli Armed Forces. Karhi pledged that Israel would use all its resources to thwart this potential threat. Furthermore, he suggested that Musk could make the release of captured Israelis a prerequisite for his initiative.

Karhi asserted that his ministry would cut all ties with Starlink. Musk has already issued a response to the minister's post.

We're not naive. Per my statement, no Starlink terminal has attempted to connect with the Gaza Strip. If this changes, we will adopt extraordinary measures to ensure it is used strictly for humanitarian purposes - Musk assured.

Starlink's Applications in Ukraine

It's noteworthy that Musk's company, SpaceX, deployed Starlink in Ukraine shortly after Russia's invasion in February 2022. The system has been utilized by Ukrainian soldiers.

There were, however, controversies. When Ukrainians planned a drone attack on ships in the Crimea region, Musk prohibited the use of the Starlink system for this operation. This decision led to the operation's collapse. The drones lost communication and eventually washed ashore.

There was a sudden request from government authorities to extend Starlink coverage to Sevastopol. The apparent aim was to destroy the moored Russian fleet. If I had accepted, SpaceX would've actively participated in a major act of war and escalation of conflict - Elon Musk elucidated his decision.

Starlink is a telecommunications satellite system developed by SpaceX. It is designed to eventually have around 12,000 low-altitude orbiting satellites to provide internet services in areas where coverage is unavailable.

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