US Military Begins Construction of Temporary Aid Pier off Gaza

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A satellite image of the Gaza coastline and the foundations of a pier that the US military has started construction on. Gaza, Apr. 23 2024. (Maxar Technologies)

On Tuesday, US troops began the construction of a maritime pier off the coast of the Gaza strip. The structure aims to facilitate a consistent and reliable flow of humanitarian aid into the strip, which is currently suffering a severe food shortage that has left more than half of the population under extreme food stress. The UN has described the situation as, “on the brink of famine.”

The pier is said to be operating in early May, delivering the equivalent of 90 trucks of humanitarian assistance, due to increase to 150 trucks per day when the pier is fully operational.

While the pier is also a military initiative, its primary purpose is to address the pressing humanitarian crisis, which is becoming increasingly urgent with the the lack of operating border crossings. The last working crossing, the Rafah border crossing, is the sole aid point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and the only place where it can be brought into Gaza. However, Israeli inspections have denied or delayed a significant amount of it amid concerns for certain products helping war efforts for Hamas, such as fuel.

Alongside the pier being instrumental in sustaining Gaza’s population, implications have arisen with political dynamics between Egypt and Israel. Israel’s security concerns over any aid that can potentially help Hamas intersects with the management of the pier, which is said to be at least partially administered by Egypt.

Additionally, Joe Biden has ordered US forces not to step foot on Gazan soil to minimize risk to the troops, who may act as a key target for Hamas’ might. A third party is said to help to distribute aid where it is needed however more checks may delay the aid even further. The IDF has also agreed to provide security around the area in the time that US forces construct and anchor the pier.

The presence of the US military exacerbates regional tensions and further complicates the fragile balance in the Middle East. However, regardless of the political or military implications, the pier will act as a crucial alternative route for aid to enter the strip and will alleviate the critical humanitarian pressures facing Gaza and its people.

Written by Rakan Pharaon

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