Permanent End to Gaza Pier May Be Earlier Than Expected

Rough seas threaten plan for a temporary reattachment of US-built span
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 10, 2024 12:30 AM CDT
Updated Jul 11, 2024 3:35 PM CDT
Plagued by Problems, US-Built Aid Pier in Gaza Will Be Removed
A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a US-built floating pier meant to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 16, 2024.   (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana, File)
UPDATE Jul 11, 2024 3:35 PM CDT

Battling rough seas around Gaza, the US now is considering abandoning efforts to reinstall the pier that has been used to get badly needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians, per the AP. The plan earlier this week had been to reinstall the pier for a week or so to move the final pallets of aid onto the shore, but rough seas have prevented the reinstallation. Even if the reinstallation happens, it would be temporary: The pier would later be taken down for good.

Jul 10, 2024 12:30 AM CDT

The pier built by the US military to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza will be reinstalled Wednesday to be used for several days, but then the plan is to pull it out permanently, several US officials said. It would deal the final blow to a project long plagued by bad weather, security uncertainties, and difficulties getting food into the hands of starving Palestinians, the AP reports. The officials said the goal is to clear whatever aid has piled up in Cyprus and on the floating dock offshore and get it to the secure area on the beach in Gaza. Once that has been done, the Army will dismantle the pier and depart. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because final details are still being worked out.

  • The pier was damaged by high winds and heavy seas on May 25, just a bit more than a week after it began operating, and was removed for repairs. It was reconnected on June 7, but removed again due to bad weather on June 14. It was put back days later, but heavy seas again forced its removal on June 28.
  • After removing the pier on that date, US troops moved it to the port of Ashdod in Israel. But distribution of the aid had already stopped due to security concerns.
  • The United Nations suspended deliveries from the pier on June 9, a day after the Israeli military used the area around it for airlifts after a hostage rescue that killed more than 270 Palestinians. US and Israeli officials said no part of the pier itself was used in the raid, but UN officials said any perception in Gaza that the project was used may endanger their aid work.
  • As a result, aid brought through the pier into the secure area on the beach piled up for days while talks continued between the UN and Israel. More recently, the World Food Program hired a contractor to move the aid from the beach to prevent the food and other supplies from spoiling.
The Pentagon said all along that the pier was only a temporary project, designed to prod Israel into opening and allowing aid to flow better through land routes—which are far more productive than the US-led sea route. Overall, more than 19.4 million pounds of food got into Gaza via the pier. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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