Internet Blackouts: Israel’s New Weapon in Gaza

The disruptions with internet and telecoms services, alongside the devastating Israeli bombardment is rising the adoption of eSIM in Gaza.

Gaza is experiencing severe disruptions with internet and telecommunication services, in addition to the devastating Israeli bombardment, which is rising the adoption of eSIM in Gaza.

According to reports, Israel completely shut down the local internet on October 27, cutting off connectivity for roughly thirty-four hours while its troops advanced into the Gaza Strip. Following the restoration of Gaza’s internet connectivity, which currently stands at about 15% of typical connectivity, the region experienced two more blackouts of similar severity. The most recent, which took place on Sunday while Israel was conducting a vigorous operation to cut off Gaza City in the north from Gaza in the south, lasted for roughly fifteen hours.

According to researchers and technologists who track internet connectivity, it is stated that it is difficult to prove that Israel was responsible for the blackouts. Instead of physically demolishing infrastructure, the fact that some connectivity could be restored so quickly suggests that intentional shutdowns were preferred to intentional damage.

Service Providers

Internet analysts report that Paltel, the largest internet provider in the Palestinian territories, has maintained the highest level of connectivity. Even Paltel has been rendered inoperable during all three blackouts. Dough Madory, director of internet analysis at monitoring firm Kentik stated, “I think everybody’s down when Paltel is offline.”

Paltel claims that Israel ‘disconnected’ its services during the three blackouts. Additionally, the State of Palestine’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has declared that networks have been ‘systematically targeted’. They asked nations to “put pressure on the Israeli government” to make connections again.

It is likely that the blackouts will continue for people living in Gaza. Although some people have been able to find spots of connectivity spots and alternatives the process is difficult. People can connect with the outside world if they have access to pricey satellite phones. Others have accessed Israeli or Egyptian networks that reach into Gaza by using eSIMs. Even though they are a vital lifeline, these circumvention methods have been proven to be unreliable as the conflict continues.

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