Creating new perspectives since 2009

US military's stop-start Gaza pier to resume operations, officials say

June 20, 2024 at 1:10 pm

A view of the damaged floating pier, set up by US to facilitate quicker delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians, after it has been suspended due to adverse weather conditions and rising sea levels in Gaza City, Gaza on May 27, 2024 [Dawoud Abo Alkas – Anadolu Agency]

The US military’s on-again, off-again floating pier in Gaza is expected to resume operations on Thursday to unload sorely needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians, two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the pier had been re-attached to the shore on Wednesday after being temporarily removed last Friday due to poor sea conditions, Reuters reports.

Aid began arriving via the US-built pier on 17 May, and the UN said it transported 137 trucks of aid to warehouses, some 900 metric tons.

But then rough seas damaged the pier, forcing repairs, and poor weather and security considerations have limited the number of days it has been operational.

US President Joe Biden announced in March the plan to put the pier in place for aid deliveries as famine loomed in Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million people, during the war between Israel and Palestine.

The US military estimates the pier will cost more than $200 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 service members.

It is unclear how much longer it will be operational.

Speaking at the Pentagon on Tuesday, spokesperson Air Force Major-General, Patrick Ryder, declined to say when the military might halt its pier operations altogether. He said the pier has so far allowed for a total of over 3,500 metric tons of aid to reach Gaza’s shores.

“With the caveat that this has always been intended to be a temporary pier, I’m not aware at this point of any established date of: ‘This is when we’re going to stop,'” he told reporters.

“And again, taking a step back here, the big picture: Whether it be by land, sea or air, (the United States is) employing all avenues to get assistance into Gaza.”

READ: Hamas says US pier provides cover for supporting occupation state with weapons