Joint statement: Restore telecoms and internet connectivity in Gaza now!

October 20, 2023

MENA Rights Group joins 100+ civil society organisations in calling on Israeli authorities to restore crucial telecommunication infrastructure, internet connectivity and other essential services in Gaza in the wake of the escalating conflict, and to ensure that international and humanitarian law are respected.

Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on October 12 2023. © Anas-Mohammed, licensed under Shutterstock.

The MENA Alliance for Digital Rights and other civil society organisations condemn, in the strongest terms, Israel's targeting of the means of communication and access to information in Gaza. We are deeply alarmed by Israel’s cutting-off of civilian telecommunication infrastructure, internet, electricity, mainstream media, journalists, and human rights defenders. 

Israel is currently holding 2.3 million Palestinians captive in Gaza, amid a near-total internet and power blackout. In less than two weeks, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 3,500 civilians, injured more than 12,000, and displaced over one million people. For the past 16 years, Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, depriving people of their fundamental rights. Over the past 12 days, this blockade has been weaponized to deny Palestinians access to food, water, medical aid, electricity, and the internet. Denying people humanitarian aid during a siege is a war crime

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has maintained control of the occupied Palestinian territory’s telecommunications infrastructure, denying Palestinians their right to access safe, affordable, and quality internet, including limiting access to 2G mobile data technologies in Gaza and 3G in the West Bank. During its military offensives on Gaza in 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2021, the Israeli occupation repeatedly bombed vital internet infrastructure, causing complete internet blackouts. 

During the recent escalation, Israel has targeted civil telecommunications infrastructure to limit Palestinians and international media from broadcasting its atrocities and crimes against humanity happening on the ground. Internet outages and disruptions have been documented in Gaza since the start of Israeli bombing, as reported  by the Internet Outage Detection and Analysis and by the #KeepitOn coalition. Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza, targeting power and internet infrastructure, using white phosphorus against civilians, and blocking the entry of vital aid such as food and medical supplies. Without electricity, the internet, or basic Information and communication technology (ICT) services, people in Gaza cannot access life-saving information about which areas are under attack or where they can find medical supplies and aid, nor can they connect with families and loved ones. They are cut off from the world. 

In a war context, access to the internet is a fundamental enabler not only of personal and communal safety, but also of ensuring that human rights violations and war crimes are recorded and reported. Freedom of expression related to Palestine is currently in crisis, from tech platforms’ policies and practices censoring related content, to targeted attacks on and killings of journalists. The internet must be kept on to prevent this crisis of expression being exacerbated further. In Gaza, access to the internet, communications, and information can be the difference between life and death, just as much as vital necessities of food, fuel and water. Reporters, journalists, human rights defenders, and news agencies have been relentlessly targeted, leaving civilians to document the war via social media. 

The MENA Alliance for Digital Rights and undersigned organisations strongly condemn the destruction of telecommunications infrastructure in Gaza, which prevents Palestinians from accessing life-saving information. We demand an immediate ceasefire and the immediate restoration of internet connectivity in Gaza, and we call for an end to the targeting of civilian telecommunications infrastructure. 

We call on the international community to take all necessary steps to support the immediate restoration of telecommunications and other essential services in Gaza and any other affected areas, and to ensure that international and humanitarian law are respected. 


  1. SMEX
  2. 7amleh
  3. Access Now
  4. INSM Foundation for Digital Rights 
  6. Derechos Digitales
  7. Sawn for Digital Rights
  8. Kandoo
  9. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
  10. Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA)
  11. Meedan 
  12. The Tor Project
  13. Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
  14. MENA Rights Group (MRG)
  15. ARTICLE19 
  16. IFEX
  17. Association for Progressive Communications
  18. JCA-NET(Japan)
  19. Digital Rights Foundation (DRF)
  20. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  21. Internet Sans Frontières
  22. Lebanese Center for Human Rights
  23. Next Billion Network
  24. PAX Memoria
  25. Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)
  26. Intervozes - Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social
  27. Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Kashmir
  28. Digital Rights Kashmir
  29. Instituto Nupef
  30. GreenNet
  31. Azerbaijan Internet Watch (AIW)
  32. Hiperderecho
  33. Numun Fund
  34. Bolo Bhi
  35. Miaan Group
  36. Office of civil freedoms
  37. Coding Rights
  38. ​​Kijiji Yeetu
  39. Human Rights Journalists Network Nigeria 
  40. Ubunteam
  42. Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative (DRLI)
  44. Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria
  45. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio & Communication
  46. Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO)
  47. Liberty and Peace NOW! Human Rights Reporters
  48. Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation 
  49. Advocacy Initiative for Development (AID)
  50. Myanmar Internet Project
  51. The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Gambia (TANGO)
  52. Securing Organizations with Automated Policymaking (SOAP)
  53. Kigali Human Rights  Attorneys and Legal consultants 
  54. YODET
  55. The Engine Room
  56. Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) 
  57. OXCON Consulting (United Kingdom) 
  58. Fundación Acceso, Costa Rica.
  59. International Press Centre (IPC)
  60. Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP)
  61. World Pulse 
  62. Manushya Foundation (Thailand, Laos) 
  63. ASEAN Regional Coalition to #StopDigitalDictatorship
  64. Instituto Minas Programam (Brazil)
  65. TEDIC
  66. (Bahrain)
  67. TEDIC
  68. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)
  69. ALTSEAN-Burma
  70. Aurat March Lahore
  71. Media Diversity Institute - Armenia
  72. RRR Collective
  73. Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP-Liberia)
  74. Youth and Society (YAS)
  75. Freedom Forum, Nepal
  76. AfricTivistes
  77. Tecnologías Comunitarias - Ecuador
  78. SocialTIC
  79. Humanis Foundation Southeast Asia (affiliated with Hivos)
  80. Computer Professionals’ Union (Philippines)
  81. PERIN+1S
  82. YLBHI (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation)
  83. Fight for the Future
  84. The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  85. Kurdistan without Genocide
  86. Organization of the Justice Campaign
  87. Kurdish organizations Network coalition for the International Criminal court (KONCICC)
  88. May First Movement Technology
  89. Foundation for Media Alternatives
  90. PurpleCode Collective
  91. CODAYati
  92. Digital Rights Watch
  93. Body & Data, Nepal
  94. Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Indonesia
  95. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) 
  96. Internet Freedom Foundation
  97. Whose Knowledge?
  98. Zaina Foundation
  99. Human Rights Online Philippines (HRonlinePH)
  100. Arabi Fact Check
  101. Matsadaash
  102. Freedom Forum, Nepal
  103. Xnet, Spain
  104. EngageMedia

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