Gaza Faces Telecommunications Shutdown as Fuel Runs Out in Israel-Palestine Conflict

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Jawwal and Paltel, Palestinian telecommunications companies, have announced that their network in the Gaza Strip has gone out of service due to the failure to allow fuel into the besieged territory. The companies stated on Thursday that “all energy sources sustaining the network have been depleted” and warned the day before that Gaza was facing a “complete blackout” due to a lack of fuel to operate main data centers and switches.

The companies explained that since Wednesday afternoon, basic network elements have been relying on batteries. As a result, all fixed, cellular, and internet services in Gaza have been interrupted, leaving its 2.3 million residents largely cut off from the outside world and from each other.

This situation is not new, and it has caused a significant crisis, particularly when residents are trying to reach ambulances or civil defense teams during bombardments. The humanitarian situation in the south of Gaza is also deteriorating, with no access to food, water, fuel, or electricity for over a month.

Israel has cut off fuel shipments into Gaza as part of a “complete siege” on the territory following an attack by Hamas fighters on southern Israel in October, which resulted in a significant number of casualties. Since the attack, Israel has severely restricted supplies of water, food, and electricity, causing a dire humanitarian crisis.

The UNRWA received its first fuel truck since the siege began, but Israeli authorities have restricted its use exclusively for the transport of aid delivered from Egypt. UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini denounced the use of fuel as a weapon of war.

Since Israel launched a ground invasion in late October, Gaza has already experienced two blackouts due to the cutting of communications and internet services. Humanitarian agencies and first responders have warned that these blackouts severely disrupt their work and put lives at risk.

Communications networks in Gaza have been unreliable since the war began due to a lack of electricity and damage to infrastructure. The Palestinian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has appealed to neighboring Egypt to operate communication stations near the Gaza border and activate roaming services on Egyptian networks.

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