US-Built Gaza Pier Incapacitated Amid Rough Seas

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An image of a US military support vessel on the Gaza shore having run aground amidst rough sea conditions. Tues. 28 May 2024 (Getty Images)

The $320 million US-built aid pier off the Gaza coast has been disabled by rough sea conditions and several support vessels have broken free from their moorings and washed ashore in Gaza and Israel. The pier, which consists of a large floating dock attached to the coast by a temporary 1,800ft causeway, has been rendered inoperative from heavy seas and the causeway section has reportedly been damaged and broken off from the floating dock.

The US began construction of the pier several weeks ago at a cost of $320 million dollars, in an effort to alleviate the urgent humanitarian crisis and bring in necessities such as food, water and medicine. The first shipments of humanitarian aid were delivered to Gaza via the pier on May 17, and the UN said it has transported 137 lorries of aid from the pier since it began operating. The pier was never intended to supplant land crossings, rather it was meant to act as an alternative route for aid to enter the strip amid deteriorating conditions. Humanitarian organisations such as the UN have long warned the amount of aid reaching Palestinians in Gaza is only a fraction of what is required to meet the needs of its population.

Whilst there is unanimous agreement that any relief to ease pressure on the humanitarian situation in Gaza is crucial, some have criticized the project for myriad reasons. Firstly, the pier is seen as an overly complicated and costly solution; critics argue that opening land crossings into Gaza and securing aid truck routes would be a much more effective and simple approach. Secondly, the pier faces various operational challenges from rough seas causing it to be disabled to three US soldiers involved in the construction of the pier being injured. Furthermore, humanitarian organizations have expressed concerns that the pier does not adequately address the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and press for the opening of land crossings. Finally, some view the construction of the pier as being driven not by attempts to relieve the suffering in Gaza but by the Biden administration’s political motivations to appease certain domestic and international audiences.

Written by Rakan Pharoan

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