Israel hosted Elon Musk on Monday, announcing a preliminary agreement for the use of SpaceX's Starlink communications in the Gaza Strip. The visit coincided with a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, with some Gaza hostages and Palestinians held by Israel being released.
Last month, Musk revealed that his satellite network, Starlink, would provide connectivity to recognised aid organisations in Gaza.The support became crucial after communication and internet services were disrupted in the region. Starlink, developed by Musk’s SpaceX, aims to provide low-cost internet access to remote areas and plans to deploy as many as 42,000 satellites in its mega constellation.
At the time, Israeli Communications Shlomo Karhi objected, saying "Hamas will use it (Starlink) for terrorist activities".
However, on Monday, Karhi stated that Israel and Musk had reached an agreement in principle. Under this agreement, "Starlink satellite units can only be operated in Israel with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Communications, including the Gaza Strip." Elon Musk is yet to comment on it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hosted Elon Musk on a tour of an Israeli kibbutz ravaged by Hamas on October 7, according to the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday.
This meeting follows their last encounter in California on Sept. 18, where Netanyahu urged Musk to find a balance between protecting free expression and combating hate speech, particularly in the context of antisemitism on X.
On Nov. 15, Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X to his 163 million listed followers. After one X user claimed that Jews have been encouraging “dialectical hatred against whites'' and referenced the “hordes of minorities that support flooding their country,” Musk suggested that the poster had said “the actual truth.”
In response, major U.S. companies, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, and NBCUniversal parent Comcast, paused their advertisements on Musk's social media platform.
So far, more than 14,854 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll stands at 1,200.