West News Wire: Due to restrictions on gasoline entering the besieged area, Jawwal and Paltel, two Palestinian telecommunications providers, have stated that their network has gone offline in the Gaza Strip.
In statements posted on X on Thursday, the corporations stated that “all energy sources sustaining the network have been depleted.” A day before, they had issued a warning that there wouldn’t be enough gasoline to run the main data centers and switches in Gaza, resulting in a “complete blackout.”
Basic network components, according to the firms, have been running on batteries since Wednesday afternoon.
With the current disruption of all fixed, cellular, and internet connections, Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants are essentially cut off from both the outside world and one another.
Al Jazeera reported “Ambulances are now standing outside Nasser Hospital with medical staff waiting to hear of any bombardments so they can rush to the areas quickly.”
It stated that the humanitarian situation in the south was getting worse. “This is not the first time this has happened, and it has caused a great crisis for people trying to reach ambulances or civil defense teams when bombardments occur.”
“More than a month has passed with no food, water, fuel, or electricity.”
Israel cut off fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip as part of a “complete siege” on the territory after Hamas fighters from Gaza launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.
Since the attack, Israel has bombarded the Palestinian territory, launched a ground offensive and severely restricted supplies of water, food and electricity. More than 11,600 people have been killed in the Israeli assault, according to Palestinian authorities, including more than 4,700 children.
This past Wednesday saw the arrival of the first fuel tanker into Gaza since Israel enforced the blockade.
Twenty-three thousand liters of fuel were received, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). But Israeli officials have limited its use to the transportation of relief supplies from Egypt.
“It is shocking that fuel is still being used as a weapon of war,” Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, said.
There have already been two blackouts in Gaza since Israel began a ground assault in late October. Israel did this by cutting off internet and communication connections.
First responders and humanitarian organizations have cautioned that blackouts seriously impair their ability to do their jobs and endanger lives.
“People will be deprived of access to lifesaving information, such as finding areas of safety or contacting emergency services,” said Rasha Abdul-Rahim, director of Amnesty Tech.
“The critical work of humanitarian agencies will also be severely disrupted, as workers lose contact with each other,” she added.
“Prolonged and complete communications blackouts, like those experienced in Gaza, can provide cover for atrocities and breed impunity while further undermining humanitarian efforts and putting lives at risk,” said Deborah Brown, senior technology researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Communications networks in Gaza have been unreliable since the war began due to lack of electricity and damage to infrastructure due to the bombardment.
The Palestinian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has previously appealed to neighbouring Egypt to operate communication stations near the Gaza border and activate roaming services on Egyptian networks.