After a weekend of almost complete blackout, the internet connectivity in Gaza has been partially restored. On Friday, internet monitoring firms and experts reported that access to the internet had degraded in the Palestinian enclave. The local internet service NetStream “collapsed,” according to NetBlocks, a firm that tracks internet access across the world. Simultaneously, IODA, another internet monitoring system, detected outages and degradation across several Palestinian internet providers.
Marginal Restoration of Internet Access in Gaza
The lack of internet communication caused emergency lines to stop ringing, making it challenging for paramedics to locate the wounded and for family members to reach their relatives and friends. On Sunday, IODA reported a “marginal restoration” of internet connectivity in Gaza. Abdulmajeed Melhem, CEO of the Palestinian main telecommunications company Paltel Group, confirmed that the internet had come back even though the company had not made any repairs.
Then, on Monday, Gaza had roughly the same access to internet connectivity as before Friday, according to several experts and firms monitoring the internet in the region. Doug Madory, an expert with years of experience in monitoring networks worldwide, noted the situation was still precarious, with the region facing power and water shortages and the service potentially at risk of dropping out again at any time.
Sources on the ground confirmed the improvements. Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent humanitarian organization, stated that her colleagues in Gaza were now “able to connect to the internet” after the “complete cut off during Friday and Saturday.”
Positive Developments Despite Challenges
David Belson, the head of data insight at cloud hosting and security company Cloudflare, reported that connectivity to Gaza was restored Sunday morning local time and had remained available since then, with requested traffic volume at or above pre-shutdown levels.
The exact cause of the internet outages on Friday and the improvements on Sunday and Monday remains unclear. The international media reported that the U.S. government pressured the Israeli government to restore internet access in Gaza, emphasizing the importance of maintaining communication.
The internet issues in Gaza occurred as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) expanded ground operations in Gaza, in addition to continued air strikes; these operations were in response to terrorist attacks by the militant organization Hamas, resulting in casualties on both sides.