Biden’s Gaza Sea Port Will Take Months To Establish

Officials say the success of establishing a sea route to bring aid into Gaza depends on Israeli cooperation

President Joe Biden’s plan to deliver aid to Gaza through a sea corridor will take at least 45-60 days to develop and depends on Tel Aviv’s approval. Israel’s five-month siege and the bombing of the Strip have created a humanitarian catastrophe that is nearing famine.

During his State of the Union address on Thursday, Biden said he ordered the US military to construct a pier off the coast of Gaza that will deliver aid by sea. “Tonight, I’m directing the US military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters,” Biden said.

After the address, several US officials discussed the proposal in more detail. Gaza does not have an existing seaport because the Palestinian enclave is under Israeli military occupation. The New York Times reports that US officials admit that building a temporary floating pier presents significant challenges and could take weeks or months to complete.

The Pentagon envisions a massive 1,800-foot-long floating platform extending into the sea, completely assembled without Americans stepping on dry land. The causeway would then be attached to the shore, allowing vehicles to transport aid from ships via a two-lane road.

The first US ship carrying supplies to build the pier left Virginia on Sunday. The White House says the operations will involve 1000 US troops. Biden pledged that American soldiers would not enter Gaza. It is unclear how Washington plans to secure the port and aid workers without putting soldiers on the ground.

The White House’s effort to deliver more aid to Gaza comes as children are starving to death after five-months of Israel’s siege and bombing campaign. Many Americans view Biden’s unfettered support for Tel Aviv as making Washington culpable for Israel’s many war crimes in Gaza. On Saturday, a protester disrupted Biden’s campaign event in Georgia, referring to the president as “genocide Joe.”

Aid groups and humanitarian experts have slammed the White House for attempting to deliver aid to Gaza via air and sea while providing Israel the weapons it needs to prevent food, water, and medicine from entering the Strip through land crossings. On Friday, a botched aid airdrop crushed five people to death, including two children.

“Airdrops, temporary seaports, and the like are not realistic or lasting solutions to stave off looming famine and sustain life in Gaza,” Melanie Ward, the CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, told Al Jazeera. “Five months on, it is long past time for the US, the UK, and others to use their substantial weight to ensure that their ally Israel immediately reopens land crossings into Gaza.”

Tel Aviv has deployed a multi-pronged approach to stifle aid deliveries into Gaza, a policy announced by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in October. The number of aid trucks entering Gaza each day has plummeted from 500 to under 100 over the past five months. Additionally, Israeli forces have attacked the limited number of aid shipments entering the Strip.

The US provides Israel with billions in military aid every year and prevents the UN Security Council from adopting resolutions critical of Israel. However, Biden has refused to leverage this substantial support to pressure Tel Aviv to allow more aid into Gaza.

Israeli cooperation is another factor in the success of aid shipments via sea. After Biden announced the plan, an Israeli official explained that Tel Aviv “fully supports the deployment of a temporary dock,” but wants “full cooperation between the two parties.”

If Tel Aviv requires inspections of aid at Israeli ports, it could lead to the same backups seen at Gaza’s land crossings. Currently, a large shipment of UN-funded food is sitting in an Israeli port. Tel Aviv refuses to allow the ship to be offloaded and the food transported to the starving Palestinians in Gaza.

Additionally, Israel has used inspections to strip life-saving medicine from aid shipments, including antibiotics, under the pretense that the aid could be used by Hamas.

Some charities are working with European countries to deliver aid to Gaza by sea without the US pier. The aid groups Open Arms and World Central Kitchen are attempting to carry 200 tons of food from Cyprus to Gaza. However, as of Sunday, the ship had not left port and did not have a plan for where or how it would get the aid ashore in Gaza.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.