After 10 Days in Service, Doom for Gaza's $230M Pier?

Aid groups say it's been a bust, officials are talking of dismantling it, per 'NYT'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2024 1:30 PM CDT
$230M Gaza Pier Was a Bust, Aid Groups Say
Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the US Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier before arriving on the beach on the Gaza Strip on May 17.   (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/US Army via AP, File)

The $230 million pier built to support the delivery of aid to Gaza has been largely ineffective and may now be dismantled some two months earlier than expected, aid groups tell the New York Times. The temporary pier was built on short notice beginning in March amid warnings of famine in Gaza as Israel blocked aid groups from accessing the war-torn region. At the time, President Biden was facing criticism for not doing more to assist Palestinians. But the pier, which allowed for aid deliveries beginning May 17, has been in use "only about 10 days" total, per the Times. "The rest of the time, it was being repaired after rough seas broke it apart, detached to avoid further damage or paused because of security concerns."

US officials feared an attack on the pier, particularly after a rumor that the Israeli military had used it as part of an operation to free four hostages. The Pentagon rejected the claim. No such attack came. On Friday, however, the US military said it would temporarily move the pier to Israel to prevent additional damage from stormy seas. It's set to be reattached sometime this week. But aid groups say they've been told the pier, originally expected to be in service until September's surging seas made it unusable, could be dismantled as early as the start of July, even as many Gazans continue to experience hunger.

Though deliveries through the pier were never meant to replace more sustainable land deliveries, only a "negligible" 3,500 tons of aid have passed through, J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells the Times. Officials expected 150 trucks would use the pier each day, rather than the current seven, aid groups say. In an essay, Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, echoes some other critics in arguing the ineffective pier succeeded only in "making it look like the US is 'doing something' for the civilian population while supporting an Israeli policy that destroys and starves it." (More Gaza stories.)

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