Lights Out: The Tragedy of Gaza’s Communication Blackout and Israel’s QR Code Charade
As the tenuous 7-day truce expired, Israeli warplanes again pummel targets across Gaza with continuous airstrikes that Gaza health officials say have now killed over 100 Palestinians. Neither side announced a ceasefire extension, both reiterating readiness to resume hostilities.
In a chilling cynical move on Friday morning, Israel’s military began dividing Gaza into dozens of numbered blocks. It dropped leaflets with QR codes showing locals which zone they occupy, demanding targeted evacuations before bombing those areas. Earlier plans outlined striking Gaza’s South to force displacements before razing districts with airstrikes and artillery.
Earlier this week, Israeli military sources said they anticipated the next phase of the operation in Gaza to involve an attack on the south, and in particular Khan Younis, where Israel believes Hamas’s leadership is based, and that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would call for the civilian population to relocate on a district-by-district basis before targeting the area with airstrikes and artillery.
However Israel like the rest of the world knows full well the ruthless decimation of infrastructure in recent weeks has plunged Gaza into a communications blackout. Phone networks, internet and electricity lie inoperative following Israel’s constant bombardment. This has crippled emergency response and created an information vacuum that leaves thousands of civilians in blocks that can only be described as designated for destruction.
Israel’s use of QR codes and digital maps redefines cynical utilisation of technology for malicious ends. Knowing connectivity has been devastated, pretending civilians can access online escape routes adds insult to mortal injury.
This digital mirage conceals a desert of compassion. Israel comprehends no one in bombed-out Gaza can scan mythical QR codes with electricity and phones extinct, it’s like giving out empty water bottles in the desert.
Humanitarian Freefall: Gaza’s Plight Deepens with Ongoing Israeli Airstrikes
This theatre of the macabre provides flimsy moral cover, feigning humanitarian efforts while life-saving coordination crumbles. The facts are, without connectivity, civilians cannot access Israel’s digitised maps indicating safe escape routes. Hospitals and aid agencies have lost all contact with staff on the ground. Doctors cannot coordinate rescues or reach the wounded. This is how 21st-century genocide is committed in an age where technology is used for both life and death, this is death.
In a statement, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said: “We have lost touch with our staff in Gaza, with health facilities, health workers and the rest of our humanitarian partners on the ground. This siege makes me gravely concerned for their safety and the immediate health risks of vulnerable patients.”
Human Rights Watch said the blackout risked providing cover for atrocities and human rights violations. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it could lead to “serious consequences” and the spread of misinformation.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, senior director of research, advocacy, policy and campaigns at Amnesty International, said: “Internet and telecommunications infrastructure must also be restored as a matter of urgency, to allow rescue operations amid Israeli pounding airstrikes and expanding ground operations.”
In darkness broken only by endless explosions, over 2 million Gazans now face terrified isolation. Families worldwide wait desperately for word from vanished relatives and loved ones.
Israel claims disrupting enemy communications is “standard wartime practice.” But excusing humanitarian catastrophe and severing lifelines for an entire population defies civilized norms.
If this be modern civilization, akin to savages in suits we stand. Our wired world birthing new ways to mask the oldest, most atavistic barbarism. Silenced screams and motionless QR codes shall haunt equally.
As the death count rises unseen, a troubled world must plead for decency. Each nation possessing sway over agendas of power must apply urgent pressure. Around the world, the hope of peace lies with the millions of people who have braved the authorities and protested this coming atrocity demanding our leaders bring peace, and not cheer on each step taken towards Armagedón.
Only global unity insisting “no more” can awaken the institutions guarding Israeli impunity. Compassion must override realpolitik before innocent civilians pay the ultimate price, erased by bombs in the night, buried under the gravel of what once was Gaza.