Reports are appearing online of a total communication blackout in Gaza. On Twitter, users are blaming Israeli bulldozers for the outage. Here is part of the conversation.
Egyptian Mohamed El Dahshan was among the first to break the news in a tweet:
@TravellerW: BREAKING – Israeli bulldozers break cables, sever ALL COMMUNICATIONS- mobile, landline, internet -from Gaza! http://t.co/ASIIQ1W #Palestine
@JalalAK_jojo: Note: It's been almost 6 hours since Gaza went into a sudden communication blackout due to Israeli bulldozers communication networks.
And Israeli journalist Joseph Dana is confused:
@ibnezra: According to reports on twitter, communications from Gaza have been cut off. Unclear if it is Israel which cut them off
From Jordan, Ali Abunimah checks if any of his Palestinian friends can read his tweets:
@avinunu: Friends in Gaza can you read this? Report that Israel has cut off all phone/internet communications
Benjamin Doherty posts similar concerns:
@bangpound: I’m checking up on my Gaza tweeps and none have said a thing in the last hour or so…
And Andy Carvin, NPR's senior strategist, replies:
@acarvin: @bangpound Twitter proximity search around Gaza. Not much posted. https://twitter.com/#!/search/near%3A%22gaza%22%20within%3A10mi
From the US, Darryl Li tweets his attempts to contact multiple landlines in Gaza, without much success.
@abubanda: Have tried dialing multiple landlines in #Gaza via skype, including UN offices, getting error messages — not even ringtones.
@abubanda: So far, mobiles in #Gaza I have called have been giving me standard non-service messages
And half an hour later, he adds:
@abubanda: Still not getting any ringtones in #Gaza, except in one high-level UN office (sep network?). Have tried >30 numbers, landlines & mobiles
Meanwhile, Leila is angry and calls for action:
@LSal92: Unbelievable! Israel is trying to completely shut off Gaza from the rest of the world. Stop your silence! Speak up! #Gaza
In a short news article, Maan News also blames (Ar) Israeli bulldozers cutting off cables for the outage.
So wait, are all Gaza communications routed through a single line in Nahal Oz? Is there a major transmission station there? Why would simple bulldozing (not digging or tearing down transmission lines) cause such a disruption? I see no discussion of the cause of the blackout.
All I’m seeing here is blame on the Israelis without any explanation how they caused it. And their spokesperson said there was no active digging by the bulldozers. Although the blackout is big news, I see no obvious link to the Israelis even though they are vaguely blamed in every news item. I wouldn’t say they AREN’T involved, but without knowing the cause, how can you assign blame?
According to this blog, connections are back on as of around 8am Wednesday morning following 16-hour break.
“Yesterday [Tuesday] around seven pm, I noticed that the internet was logged on, but there was no connection…Around 8 am, I went to work where the first question before “Good morning “was “do you have internet at home??” The answer was No…However, in a fraction of a second, I saw what electrically shock my sleepy self, and swiftly opened my semi-closed eyes, MOZILAFIRE FOX IS WORKING! IT’S BACK! The internet is back! My heart was tweeting!! And while I was giving the class, I looked at my once-was signally dead cellphone and then I jubilantly told the students: “It’s back!” the beautiful small dashes signaling that the mobile network is operating again. After 16 hours of disconnection, life is connected again!”