“We regret to inform you that all telecommunications services in the Gaza Strip have been discontinued,” Paltel said in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “Depletion of all energy sources supporting the network and the prohibition of fuel imports have occurred.”
NetBlocks, an internet observatory, reported concurrently that live metrics indicated Gaza was “in the midst of a major internet outage” and that the majority of its residents would likely be unable to access telecom services.
Israel initiated a significant military operation in the Gaza Strip with the objective of annihilating Hamas, an organization it regards as a terrorist organization, as a retaliatory measure against the cross-border assault carried out by hundreds of militants on October 7. Hamas’ assault on Israel held approximately 240 individuals hostage, resulting in the loss of at least 1,200 lives.
Challenges in Fuel Supply
Similar challenges have previously necessitated the shutdown of additional critical services. Hospitals, water pipelines, desalination plants, sewage treatment facilities, and bakeries are all included.
On Thursday evening, interruptions affected all communications throughout Gaza.
He stated that obtaining information regarding the current state of affairs on the ground elsewhere, especially in areas such as Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where Israeli forces were conducting operations for the second day in a row, would be exceedingly challenging.
Before the blackout began, a journalist confined within the complex informed him via telephone that soldiers were “shooting in all directions” and assaulting every department of the hospital. Since then, our correspondent has been unsuccessful in reestablishing communication.
Concerns for Humanitarian Agencies
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, administers the largest humanitarian operation in Gaza. The director of Unrwa expressed concern that the blackout could precipitate an additional deterioration of civil order.
UN leader Philippe Lazzarini stated at a news conference in Geneva, “These are indications of a situation in which communication is disrupted and a blackout ensues; this further incites and exacerbates the anxiety and panic.”
“This has the potential to incite or escalate the deteriorating civil order that is still present in the Gaza Strip.” And in the event that this entirely fails, it will be challenging for us to function in an environment where there is no minimum order quantity.”
A prolonged communications blackout, according to Human Rights Watch (WW), could “provide cover for atrocities, foster impunity, further undermine humanitarian efforts, and endanger lives,” the organization said on Wednesday.
In addition, Mr. Lazzarini asserted his conviction regarding a “purposeful endeavor to suffocate” Unrwa’s activities in Gaza, cautioning that in the event of depleted fuel supplies, the organization might be compelled to completely halt its activities.
Unrwa, whose facilities are currently accommodating 813,000 displaced individuals, estimates that it requires a minimum of 160,000 litres of petroleum daily to sustain its fundamental operations.
Fuel Shortage Threatens Essential Operations
“If the fuel does not come in, people will start to die because of the lack of fuel,” Lazzarini stated.
“Starting precisely from when, I am uncertain. It will, however, be sooner as opposed to later.”
In the interim, the director of the United Nations World Food Programme stated that food and water supplies were “virtually non-existent.” Additionally, he mentioned that “barely a fraction of what is required is entering via the borders.”
Cindy McCain warned that due to the impending winter, hazardous and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of potable water, civilians are in imminent danger of starvation.
Col. Moshe Tetro stated that Israel was carrying out its responsibilities to facilitate the transport of aid and that the daily influx of lorries entering from Egypt was escalating. Since October 21, 1,139 aid trucks have entered, according to the United Nations, compared to an average of 500 per day prior to the conflict.
Additionally, Colonel Tetro emphasized that Israel was making every effort to minimize civilian casualties, including instructing northern Gazans to evacuate southwards for their own safety as the country concentrates its air and ground assault on what it perceives to be Hamas’s stronghold.
Many of the 1.5 million displaced have sought refuge in Khan Younis, where the population has tripled from 300,000 before the conflict.
Tens of thousands of people have been seeking refuge in four towns east of the city—Bani Shuhaila, Khuzaa, Abasan, and Qarara—where Israeli forces reportedly released leaflets urging residents to evacuate on Thursday.