The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition calls on the Egyptian government to intervene immediately to restore the Gaza Strip’s communications access
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition calls on the Egyptian government to intervene immediately to restore the Gaza Strip’s communications access, which was completely lost on Friday, October 27 due to Israel’s destruction of the remaining infrastructure of Internet and telecommunications in the Strip. The Coalition stresses the importance of this during these critical moments. Communications are an essential for the provision of critical emergency services across the Gaza Stip. Disrupting internet access and destroying communications infrastructure as collective punishment is a human rights violation, forbidden by customary international humanitarian law and international humanitarian law.
Since the start of the war on Gaza, the Israeli occupation army has targeted a significant part of Gaza’s telecommunications infrastructure, which led to the operations of the telecommunications networks at a rate of less than 20%. On October 27th, Israel severed the last remaining, already limited and intermittent, lines of communication, cutting the people of Gaza off from each other, from emergency assistance, and from the world. The ensuing blackout is in addition to cutting off the rest of the necessary life necessities, including food, water, electricity, and fuel, for weeks, which prevent residents of the Gaza Strip from obtaining emergency aid in light of the devastating events.
The lack of power and destruction of telecommunications infrastructures in the Strip not only disrupt the residents' communications but also deepen collective anxiety. It further hinders outsiders from understanding the situation within the besieged territory.
This act constitutes a clear violation of human rights and digital rights, which are considered a protected right for every individual in the world. The continuation of this communications blackout leaves international and regional media outlets in the dark as to the situation in Gaza. The blackout allows Israel to commit more crimes in darkness, to hide blatant human rights violations from the eyes of the world, including regional and international human rights organizations. Additionally, the blackout allows the spread of misinformation on a wide scale, and prevents the ability to obtain direct and factual news from the affected areas.
The Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition stresses the importance of the Egyptian government’s role, as well as the role of regional and international institutions, to immediately restore communications and Internet access to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It is essential for all necessary measures to be taken, to restore the communications networks, electricity and life-supporting necessities in the Gaza Strip. The coalition calls on the media and the international community to convey this urgent appeal, and to support all efforts to restore connectivity across the affected areas. The coalition also calls on Elon Musk and the Starlink company to deliver the necessary equipment to restore connectivity throughout the Gaza Strip. This follows Musk’s statement that he would only reconnect international humanitarian institutions operating in the Gaza Strip.
The coalition also urgently calls on the international community and the United Nations to take immediate and effective measures to exert all necessary pressure to reach an immediate ceasefire, provide the necessary protection for the entire civilian population, and protect the rights of the Palestinian people, starting with lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip, restoring connectivity and access to all essential humanitarian necessities, and commit to respecting international law and human rights in the Gaza Strip.
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