Starlink Gets Green Light for Israel with Strict Limits, Offers Hope for Gaza

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Starlink Gets Green Light for Israel with Strict Limits, Offers Hope for Gaza

| Updated: February 17, 2024 17:08

Starlink Gets Green Light for Israel

Israel has approved Elon Musk’s Starlink, a satellite internet service, to operate within its borders and parts of the Gaza Strip. However, this authorization comes with strict measures aimed at preventing Hamas from accessing the service. The Israeli government plans to utilize Starlink for emergency backup communications but remains committed to ensuring security protocols are upheld to prevent unauthorized access.

According to Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, units in the Gaza Strip supporting humanitarian causes will only be approved after thorough verification by Israeli security forces, ensuring they pose no risk to national security.

Starlink’s network of low Earth orbit satellites provides essential connectivity to remote areas or regions with compromised traditional communication infrastructure. Offering low latency and high-speed connections, Starlink facilitates critical services such as real-time video conferencing between hospitals and remote diagnostics.

Service Coverage and Restrictions

Initially, Starlink’s services will be accessible to select authorities within Israel, with additional approval granted for use at a field hospital operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in southern Gaza. Sales will be limited to approved clients in Israel, including local councils and government bodies. Units supporting humanitarian efforts in Gaza will undergo individual approval processes to ensure national security is not compromised.

Life-Saving Potential

Access to reliable, high-speed internet via Starlink holds the potential to save lives by facilitating real-time video consultations. The UAE Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Afra Al Hameli, expressed support for the deal, underscoring its importance for medical purposes. Plans are underway to introduce Starlink services at the UAE’s Gaza field hospital in collaboration with international and regional organizations.

Challenges in Gaza’s Healthcare System

Gaza’s hospitals have faced immense challenges during the ongoing conflict, with over 68,000 people wounded, as reported by the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

Initial Rejection and Subsequent Approval

Elon Musk’s initial proposal to extend Starlink access to Gaza aid organizations in October faced rejection after concerns were raised by Israeli officials, including Minister Karhi, citing potential exploitation by Hamas militants. However, the recent approval reflects a balanced approach, emphasizing stringent security measures alongside the recognition of Starlink’s potential to enhance humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

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