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Israel in talks over Starlink deployment

October 19, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Israel is reportedly talking to executives from Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband-by-satellite system about permitting Musk’s technology to be used for what Bloomberg describes as “wartime back-up”.

Israel’s Minister of Communications confirmed it is in talks with SpaceX on setting up Starlink internet services to bolster its wartime communications, ahead of its expected ground invasion in the Gaza Strip.

Starlink is not officially available in Israel and the report says that Starlink would be used for communities near the conflict zones.

The Israeli Minister (Shlomo Karhi) said that his government is looking to curb internet and cellular connectivity in Gaza. commenting: “Additionally, under the guidance of [the ministry] it promotes the purchase of these satellite devices for the benefit of regional councils and community leaders in conflict zone settlements.”

As for Starlink, the Israeli move echoes similar activity in the Ukraine earlier this year. However, Elon Musk at the time said he was very reluctant to authorise use of Starlink in a wartime setting “given that SpaceX could then be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

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