Tech billionaire Elon Musk offered the use of his Starlink satellite internet service on Saturday for humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza, as the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas continues.
The Gaza Strip, which is controlled Hamas, has been without internet and telephone communication amid escalating airstrikes and a ground campaign by the Israeli military. This has left civilians unable to call for help and aid organizations unable to communicate.
Musk said his company would give access to “internationally recognized” aid organizations, though it is unclear how quickly they would be able to connect to the technology as it requires special equipment.
However, Musk’s commitment came in response to criticism of Israel’s decision to cut communication from Rep. Alexandria Ocacio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
“Cutting off all communication to a population of 2.2 million is unacceptable,” Ocacio-Cortez said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday. “Journalists, medical professionals, humanitarian efforts, and innocents are all endangered. I do not know how such an act can be defended.”
“The United States has historically denounced this practice,” she added.
The Israeli ground campaign appears to be the beginning of a long-anticipated invasion of northern Gaza. The conflict began earlier this month after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing over 1,400 people and taking more than 200 people hostage.
Responding Israeli airstrikes have killed over 7,300 Palestinians as of Friday, including at least 3,000 children, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.
The U.S. has backed Israel in the conflict but has reportedly warned the Middle Eastern nation against a full ground invasion, concerned about wider escalation in the Middle East.
Musk’s offer is similar to his support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.
The tech billionaire — who also owns X, Tesla and SpaceX — offered the Starlink service to the Ukrainian military as well, but limited its use to purely defensive operations. That move raisied concerns about his influence over U.S. foreign policy in the region.