US To Remove Aid Pier From Gaza Coast

The structure has only been operational for about 10 days since it was built off Gaza’s coastline last month.

The US military could end a mission to facilitate aid shipments into Gaza using a temporary pier as early as next month, the New York Times reported, citing Pentagon officials. The pier has faced constant problems since it was first established in May, including rough weather that has resulted in damage and shutdowns.

While the Joe Biden administration expected the pier to last into September, when choppy seas would make it inoperable, unnamed officials told NYT the mission could come to and end much sooner, warning aid groups that it could close down by July.

Last Friday, the Pentagon announced that the structure would be towed to Ashdod, Israel to avoid inclement weather, the second time it was withdrawn to the city due to high seas. The Defense Department has said the pier would return to the Gaza coast sometime this week, and while officials told the Times the causeway could soon be dismantled, DoD spokesman Patrick Ryder stressed that “there is no indication right now that there are plans to stop using the pier to deliver aid.”

Though US officials have touted the pier as a way to deliver much-needed supplies to Gazans amid Israel’s months-long bombing campaign, some humanitarian orgs have slammed the project as a farce. In late May, Michael Selby-Green, a media spokesperson for Islamic Relief, told the New Arab the effort was merely a “distriction,” noting that even at full capacity it could only cover a fraction of Gaza’s needs.

“It’s taken two-and-a-half months to build the pier and deliver the claimed 1,000 metric tonnes of aid, which is a drop in the ocean compared to what’s needed in Gaza. Every day that passes pushes more families closer to starvation and puts more lives at risk,” he added.

Doctors Without Borders’ director of communications in the UK, Sam Taylor, similarly described the pier as “an illusion of improvement,” while a spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council called it an “an expensive, time-consuming and unviable option as an aid route in the long run.”

The US military has claimed that some 3,500 tons of aid has been delivered to Gaza using the makeshift pier, but aid groups say much of the supplies are not reaching those who need them, pointing to issues with security and logistics thanks to the ongoing war. According to the Times, the structure has facilitated just seven truckloads worth of aid per day, falling far short of an ultimate goal of 150 trucks, as well as the bare minimum of 500 trucks needed to sustain Gaza’s population.

Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Find more of his work at Consortium News and ZeroHedge.