Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Many Gazans Cut Off From World As Israel Targets Communications And Internet Networks


Geneva – The Israeli forces’ targeting of the Internet
and communications networks in the Gaza Strip as part of
their continuous military attack for the ninth day is
utterly worrying, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor
said today in a statement.

Israeli’s violent
bombings have severely damaged or destroyed networks,
equipment and devices crucial for many communication and
Internet companies, which used to operate in buildings that
were unjustifiably targeted.

The attacks also targeted
dozens of streets damaging utility poles which carry wires
that provided Internet and communication
services.

This has led to the disruption of Internet
and communication services for many of the
population.

The use of disproportionate force against
civilian objects and residents heralds unexpected
consequences on the citizens of the Gaza Strip considering
the deliberate infliction of severe human and material
losses.

Euro-Med Monitor talked to Khaled Al-Gamal, an
official in the commercial department at the Solution
Management Technology Corp. (SMT) which provides fast
Internet service (fiber-optic internet). Al-Gamal said the
company was destroyed after Israeli warplanes targeted the
Al-Jawhara Tower on May 12.

The building contained the
company’s essential equipment, he said, adding that
initial losses are estimated at $2 million after all the
equipment and devices were irreparably
damaged.

Al-Jamal stated that this has led to a
complete disruption of the service provided to thousands of
clients who crucially depend on our services, such as
satellite channels, international and local media agencies,
and some hospitals.

“Many international news agencies
and satellite channels have been harmed by the targeting of
the company, as they rely mainly on the fiber-optic internet
service to transmit information and directly broadcast
current events in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“The
continued targeting of commercial buildings that contain
Internet companies providing this service will greatly
affect the ability of these companies to continue their
work. The continuous bombing of streets and residential
neighborhoods inflicted severe damage on the wires and
cables connected to entire residential squares,” Al-Jamal
stressed.

He continued, “The real problem lies in
the tough measures the Israeli authorities imposed before
allowing us to import fiber-optic wires under the pretext
that they are dual-use goods. We apply for a permit and wait
weeks or months for the approval to come, which will mean
the continuation of service interruptions for an unknown
period due to Israel’s complications”.

Euro-Med
Monitor’s team interviewed several freelance journalists
who work for local and international bodies. They reported
the disruption of their work was due to the interruption of
Internet services.

Journalist Mustafa Jihad said he
used to work as a reporter for several international news
websites, but he lost the ability to communicate with his
employers after an Israeli aircraft destroyed the Al-Galaa
Tower in the west of Gaza last Saturday.

Jihad added
that he had to move to his friend’s house who still has
internet. However, he expressed concern about the
interruption of services at any moment as a result of Israel
continuously targeting facilities that contain most of the
network and communication equipment.

Internet and
communications company Fusion announced in a statement
viewed by Euro-Med Monitor that the bombing which targeted
the Al-Jawhara Tower last Wednesday has left thousands in
Gaza without internet. This is due to the severe damage the
bombs caused to all the Internet equipment inside the
building.

In addition, the lines of terrestrial and
cellular communications are witnessing increasingly severe
damage as a result of the Israeli attacks. This falls within
the framework of isolating Gazans from the outside world and
imposing a media blackout.

The Israeli attacks on the
Gaza Strip portend a humanitarian catastrophe that has begun
to affect all basic aspects of life.

Israel
deliberately inflicts heavy and direct material losses
towards basic services, including the Internet and
communication services.

The unspoken goal of these
attacks is to prevent satellite channels and media outlets
from reporting on these events and affect their coverage of
civilian attacks taking place in the Gaza Strip.

The
Israeli authorities must stop all attacks on residential
communities and civilian objects that include towers and
commercial companies since international humanitarian law
recognized the necessity of protecting these objects and
criminalized such attacks. The aggregate attacks constitute
war crimes and require immediate criminal
accountability.

The international community, led by
the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council
and the European Union, must shoulder their legal and moral
responsibilities regarding the escalation of these
unjustified violations against civilians and pressure Israel
to stop its military attack on
Gaza.

© Scoop Media

 



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