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Elon Musk offered satellite internet access to some aid organizations in Gaza, but it’s still unclear whether the SpaceX CEO can actually provide the help he’s offering.
Musk, whose company operates the Starlink satellites, wrote that his company aimed to enable internet connections in Gaza amid Israel’s invasion and a near-total telecom blackout in the region over the weekend.
“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza,” he wrote Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter. The pledge came after Musk said no ground terminals in the area had attempted to contact Starlink satellites and that it was unclear who had the authority to authorize such access.
There are questions about whether the technology will work in the region. Marc Owen Jones, an associate professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, told Al Jazeera that it would be difficult to physically obtain the ground terminals needed to initiate satellite contact. Gaza’s lack of fuel to power the terminals is another complicating factor, he said.
Israel’s minister of communications, Shlomo Karhi, replied to Musk’s offer on X that Israel “will use all means at its disposal” to oppose Starlink connectivity efforts in Gaza.
This isn’t Musk’s first time pulling internet-access strings in conflict zones. The tech mogul drew criticism when he reportedly blocked Starlink access in Crimea that would’ve helped Ukraine attack a Russian naval fleet.
Starlink parent company SpaceX didn’t return Tech Brew’s request for comment on Monday. As of Sunday night, Reuters reported, telecom service had been partially restored in Gaza, and the White House said earlier this week that it was “involved in discussions to restore phone and internet communications in Gaza over the weekend,” the Wall Street Journal reported.