Israel’s digital occupation of Palestine

ISRAEL’S DIGITAL OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

Israel’s digital occupation of Palestine

Access Now stands with the people of Gaza who are currently living under a complete siege imposed by the Israeli military, indiscriminate airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, and cutting off of fuel, food, water, and medical supplies. We also stand in solidarity with everyone in Israel, Lebanon, broader Palestine, across the region, and around the world who are personally impacted by this conflict and whose communities have been targeted with violence.

Attacks on digital rights in times of conflict and crisis enable offline human rights abuses and exacerbate people’s suffering. The protection of free expression and access to information is a lifeline for people struggling to keep themselves and their communities out of harm’s way, and upholding the right to free association and peaceful assembly is vital for expression of solidarity as well as a pathway for demanding accountability from parties to the conflict. We call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent the worsening of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and further loss of innocent lives.

Civil society actions

Telecoms and Internet Connectivity Gaza
Internet Shutdowns

A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now

18 Jan 2024

For a week, Gaza has been under a complete internet and telecom blackout, the longest since October. The international community must act to #KeepItOn.

Press Release
A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now
18 Jan 2024
A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now
Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights
Internet Shutdowns

Depleting fuel and infrastructure damage: Gaza’s internet lifeline must be saved

15 Nov 2023

“With an impending internet blackout in Gaza, Access Now and Human Rights Watch received a response from Paltell Group emphasizing Israeli attacks on infrastructure as key blackout contributors and citing challenges in making repairs without a ceasefire.

Press Release
Depleting fuel and infrastructure damage: Gaza’s internet lifeline must be saved
15 Nov 2023
Depleting fuel and infrastructure damage: Gaza’s internet lifeline must be saved
Palestine Israel Digital Ceasefire; Gaza’s internet
Connectivity

Palestine unplugged: how Israel disrupts Gaza’s internet

10 Nov 2023

This report illustrates the state of Gaza’s internet throughout October 2023 by looking at internet traffic by ISPs and locations.

Publication
Palestine unplugged: how Israel disrupts Gaza’s internet
10 Nov 2023
Palestine unplugged: how Israel disrupts Gaza’s internet
Restore Telecoms and Internet Connectivity in Gaza Now!
Internet Shutdowns

Gaza’s last link is gone: civil society urges immediate reversal of total communications blackout now shrouding human rights harms

27 Oct 2023

Access Now and the MENA Alliance for Digital Rights call for immediate restoration of telecoms and internet connectivity in the Gaza Strip.

Press Release
Gaza’s last link is gone: civil society urges immediate reversal of total communications blackout now shrouding human rights harms
27 Oct 2023
Gaza’s last link is gone: civil society urges immediate reversal of total communications blackout now shrouding human rights harms
Palestine Israel Digital Ceasefire; Gaza’s internet
Connectivity

Human rights organizations join the open call for an immediate physical and digital ceasefire in Gaza, and for Palestinians globally

20 Oct 2023

We call on international actors to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, along with a “digital ceasefire” to protect Palestinians in online spaces globally.

Press Release
Human rights organizations join the open call for an immediate physical and digital ceasefire in Gaza, and for Palestinians globally
20 Oct 2023
Human rights organizations join the open call for an immediate physical and digital ceasefire in Gaza, and for Palestinians globally
Telecoms and Internet Connectivity Gaza
Content Governance

Precise interpretation of the DSA matters especially when people’s lives are at risk in Gaza and Israel

18 Oct 2023

The Digital Service Act (DSA) must not be exploited in times of conflict or crisis. The E.U. must respect due process when enforcing the DSA during ongoing armed conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Press Release
Precise interpretation of the DSA matters especially when people’s lives are at risk in Gaza and Israel
18 Oct 2023
Precise interpretation of the DSA matters especially when people’s lives are at risk in Gaza and Israel
Restore Telecoms and Internet Connectivity in Gaza Now!
Internet Shutdowns

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

20 Oct 2023

The MENA Alliance for Digital Rights and other CSOs condemn Israel’s targeting of the means of communication in Gaza.

Press Release
Joint statement: Restore telecoms and internet connectivity in Gaza now!
20 Oct 2023
Joint statement: Restore telecoms and internet connectivity in Gaza now!
Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights
Internet Shutdowns

#KeepItOn: Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights

13 Oct 2023

People living in the Gaza Strip have been enduring a near-complete communications blackout, constituting a violation of human rights.

Press Release
#KeepItOn: Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights
13 Oct 2023
#KeepItOn: Telecommunications blackout in the Gaza Strip is an attack on human rights

Guides

How to stay safe online in the context of conflict in Gaza
Data Protection

Staying safe online in the context of conflict in Gaza  

24 Oct 2023

This digital resilience tipsheet compiled by Access Now and SMEX is designed to support you in defending against reported threats.

Guide
Staying safe online in the context of conflict in Gaza  
24 Oct 2023
Staying safe online in the context of conflict in Gaza  
Tech and conflict
Artificial Intelligence

Tech and conflict: a guide for responsible business conduct

18 May 2023

This guide is meant to help tech companies think through the impacts of their decisions in the context of conflict.

Guide
Tech and conflict: a guide for responsible business conduct
18 May 2023
Tech and conflict: a guide for responsible business conduct
Regulating digital platforms
Content Governance

Content governance in times of crisis: how platforms can protect human rights

29 Nov 2022

The “Declaration for content and platform governance principles in times of crisis” lays out principles for social media platforms to help ensure privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information during crises.

Publication
Content governance in times of crisis: how platforms can protect human rights
29 Nov 2022
Content governance in times of crisis: how platforms can protect human rights
Digital Security Helpline BG
Cybersecurity

DIGITAL SECURITY HELPLINE

29 Jul 2022

Our Helpline provides 24/7 free of charge technical support for journalists, activists, and human rights defenders

Page
DIGITAL SECURITY HELPLINE
29 Jul 2022
DIGITAL SECURITY HELPLINE

Additional resources

FAQS

What does Palestine’s online space look like?

Historically, online spaces have been more restricted and difficult to access in Palestine than in other countries. This is largely due to interference with available technology, online censorship, and surveillance, including:

Since the Israeli siege on Gaza escalated, access to internet and telecommunications services have been severely limited. This is a result of attacks on civilian infrastructure, fuel depletion, and deliberate shutdowns by Israeli authorities, including:

  • Al–Watan Tower, a building that houses media offices and serves as a hub for internet service providers has been targeted by Israeli airstrikes. 
  • The offices of two other ISPs, Paltel and Jawwal, were also destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.
  • Based on our analysis of available data, as of October 31, 15 of the 19 providers operating in Gaza were facing a complete shutdown of their mobile and broadband services, and the internet traffic across Gaza had decreased by over 80%.
  • As of November 20, there had been four full communication blackouts in Gaza: on October 27-29, November 1, November 5, and on November 16 as Paltel announced the shutdown of their services in Gaza due to fuel depletion.

What can the international community do to defend digital rights for people impacted by this conflict?

Civil society has issued 25 recommendations for parties to the conflict, international organizations, global leaders, private sector actors, and other international stakeholders in support of an immediate physical and digital ceasefire. Individuals can support by holding their home governments accountable for responding to these calls to action, speaking out in support of a ceasefire, seeking out trustworthy news sources, and amplifying the voices of Palestinians who are being silenced online.

Latest updates

#StopSilencingPalestine: U.S. Senator joins civil society's call
Content Governance
Content Governance

A coalition of international organizations demands that Meta refrain from censoring criticism of Zionism on its platforms

12 Feb 2024

Access Now joins over 70 civil society organizations in urging Meta to abstain from censoring criticism of Zionism on its platforms.

Press Release
A coalition of international organizations demands that Meta refrain from censoring criticism of Zionism on its platforms
12 Feb 2024
A coalition of international organizations demands that Meta refrain from censoring criticism of Zionism on its platforms
How to get rid of targeted ads on TikTok (only in the EU)
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Researchers call out TikTok for removing feature that counts views for Gaza war videos

10 Feb 2024
News
Researchers call out TikTok for removing feature that counts views for Gaza war videos
The New Arab ↗
10 Feb 2024
Researchers call out TikTok for removing feature that counts views for Gaza war videos
Gaza Paltel
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Gaza aid in-depth: Response leaders warn of extreme obstacles, even with a ceasefire

1 Feb 2024
News
Gaza aid in-depth: Response leaders warn of extreme obstacles, even with a ceasefire
The New Humanitarian ↗
1 Feb 2024
Gaza aid in-depth: Response leaders warn of extreme obstacles, even with a ceasefire
Restore Telecoms and Internet Connectivity in Gaza Now!
Content Governance
Content Governance

How Israeli soldiers are TikToking their war crimes in Gaza

29 Jan 2024
News
How Israeli soldiers are TikToking their war crimes in Gaza
The New Arab ↗
29 Jan 2024
How Israeli soldiers are TikToking their war crimes in Gaza
#StopSilencingPalestine
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Fatafta: Gaza i globalne rasprave o njoj su pod digitalnom opsadom Izraela

27 Jan 2024
News
Fatafta: Gaza i globalne rasprave o njoj su pod digitalnom opsadom Izraela
Al Jazeera ↗
27 Jan 2024
Fatafta: Gaza i globalne rasprave o njoj su pod digitalnom opsadom Izraela
Palestine Israel Digital Ceasefire; Gaza’s internet
Internet Shutdowns
Internet Shutdowns

Palestinians are using donated eSIM cards to stay in touch with the outside world

19 Jan 2024
News
Palestinians are using donated eSIM cards to stay in touch with the outside world
NBC ↗
19 Jan 2024
Palestinians are using donated eSIM cards to stay in touch with the outside world
#StopSilencingPalestine
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Palestinians are documenting the war for millions on social media. Their followers have come to see them as family.

19 Jan 2024
News
Palestinians are documenting the war for millions on social media. Their followers have come to see them as family.
CNN ↗
19 Jan 2024
Palestinians are documenting the war for millions on social media. Their followers have come to see them as family.
Azerbaijan elections internet elections
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

What the U.S. can and must do to reconnect Gaza

18 Jan 2024

Gaza is suffering under its ninth recent telecommunications and internet shutdown. We outline how the U.S. can help reconnect Gaza.

Post
What the U.S. can and must do to reconnect Gaza
18 Jan 2024
What the U.S. can and must do to reconnect Gaza
Telecoms and Internet Connectivity Gaza
Internet Shutdowns
Internet Shutdowns

A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now

18 Jan 2024

For a week, Gaza has been under a complete internet and telecom blackout, the longest since October. The international community must act to #KeepItOn.

Press Release
A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now
18 Jan 2024
A week in the dark: connectivity in Gaza must be restored now
Palestine Israel Digital Ceasefire; Gaza’s internet
Internet Shutdowns
Internet Shutdowns

Web monitors say Gaza week-long internet outage is longest yet

18 Jan 2024
News
Web monitors say Gaza week-long internet outage is longest yet
Tech Crunch ↗
18 Jan 2024
Web monitors say Gaza week-long internet outage is longest yet
#StopSilencingPalestine
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Genocide in Gaza: the context

6 Jan 2024
News
Genocide in Gaza: the context
Al Jazeera ↗
6 Jan 2024
Genocide in Gaza: the context
How to stay safe online in the context of conflict in Gaza
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

Digital threats to press freedom: disinformation, hate speech, biased moderation and deplatforming during the conflict in Gaza

27 Dec 2023
News
Digital threats to press freedom: disinformation, hate speech, biased moderation and deplatforming during the conflict in Gaza
Free Press Unlimited ↗
27 Dec 2023
Digital threats to press freedom: disinformation, hate speech, biased moderation and deplatforming during the conflict in Gaza