Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights

Depleting fuel and infrastructure damage: Gaza’s internet lifeline must be saved

A complete internet blackout is looming in the Gaza Strip. Access Now cannot underscore the urgency and seriousness of this situation — once fuel is depleted, an entirely besieged population will be severed from the rest of the world. This is incredibly dangerous for the over two million people in Gaza who cannot access life-saving information or communicate while living under constant bombardment. 

Access Now calls on Israeli authorities and all involved parties to immediately and urgently allow fuel supplies into the Gaza Strip to prevent the imminent full internet shutdown.

In a few hours, Gaza will sink into darkness — fuel is running out and the severely damaged telecommunications infrastructure cannot be repaired. The internet is a lifeline for people, hospitals, emergency responders, and humanitarian organizations. A full shutdown will trigger more chaos, destruction, and human suffering of an unspeakable scale. Access Now calls on governments and international bodies to urgently intervene and demand an immediate ceasefire before it’s too late. Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Director at Access Now.

Since October 9, people in Gaza have faced intermittent internet shutdowns. Access Now and Human Rights Watch contacted PalTel Group (the parent company of Palestinian internet service providers, PalTel, Jawwal, and Hadara), on November 9 for clarification on what has led to the severing of information and communication channels. PalTel responded on November 14 highlighting the deliberate shutdown by Israeli authorities of full internet and telecommunications access between October 27 and 29, and on October 30 (in northern Gaza), November 1, and November 5. It also named the relentless Israeli attacks on infrastructure as another main factor contributing to the blackouts, and the challenges to making necessary repairs to the damage without a ceasefire or being granted a safe passage. 

As electrical grids, data centres, office buildings, and cable networks have been targeted, internet access currently depends on depleting fuel. PalTel has warned of a complete communications blackout by Thursday, November 16, if fuel is not allowed into the Gaza Strip as its data centers in Gaza are currently surviving only on batteries. It said “this will lead to a complete telecom blackout in the coming hours. #KeepGazaConnected.”

Access Now reiterates the demand for an immediate physical and digital ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and is calling on Israeli authorities to urgently allow fuel and other supplies into the occupied zone.