US to Permanently Dismantle Gaza Aid Pier After Only 20 Days

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A newly constructed U.S. military pier, initially installed to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza, is set to be dismantled soon. The pier, erected two months ago off the coast of Gaza, had been relocated several times to escape adverse weather, and is currently in place at Ashdod port in Israel, a location also used during inclement conditions.

Major General Pat Ryder, the chief Pentagon spokesperson, mentioned that the pier would be temporarily repositioned to the Gaza coastline on Wednesday to facilitate the transfer of aid supplies that have been gathering in Cyprus and on nearby floating docks. However, this reinstallation is expected to last only a few days before the pier is completely taken apart by the U.S. military.

Introduced by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union speech in March, the pier was designed as a momentary solution to bolster the limited amount of aid entering Gaza through land routes controlled by Israel. Officials initially anticipated the pier would remain in operation until late summer, but unexpected rough seas during the summer months demanded frequent relocations, limiting its use. Since its deployment on May 17, the pier has functioned for less than 20 days, with much of the aid offloaded directly onto the beach rather than being distributed throughout Gaza due to security concerns.

This tumult in operations coincided with a spike in regional hostility when Israeli Defense Forces undertook an operation on June 9, rescuing hostages at the cost of numerous Palestinian lives, which led the World Food Programme to halt its distribution convoys pending further security assessments.

Throughout its brief operational period, approximately 8,800 metric tons of aid were delivered via the pier, roughly the equivalent to one day’s worth of pre-conflict deliveries. This $230 million project faced criticism for potentially deflecting global efforts away from pressing Israel to open its land crossings, which remain the most effective channels for getting assistance to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, many of whom face severe food shortages.

Deliveries through these land passages have significantly reduced, with truck entries plunging from 840 in May to just 18 in July, amid continued military actions by Israel around Gaza’s borders. The future of the pier project now lies in discussions among U.S. officials and international bodies focused on addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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