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The pier built in May in Gaza by the United States was intended to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to this Palestinian territory besieged by Israel. But since its installation a month ago, it has gone from one setback to another.

More than 4,100 tons of aid have been transported to the Gaza Strip via this pier which cost $230 million, far from the “massive increase” in deliveries promised by Joe Biden.

Israel's primary military supporter, Washington installed this pier in the face of severe restrictions imposed by Israel on the land delivery of aid to the Palestinian territory, ravaged by eight months of war.

“The Gaza pier, unfortunately, represents nothing more than an extremely expensive diversion from what is truly necessary, but also legally required,” says Michelle Strucke, director of humanitarian affairs at the CSIS think tank in Washington.

That is, “secure and unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian organizations to provide aid to a population in Gaza experiencing historic levels of deprivation,” she says.

The United States and other countries have air-dropped aid shipments as well, but these, along with pier deliveries, “were never intended to substitute for access to scale and sustainability via land crossing points”, estimates Michelle Strucke.

According to her, by focusing on this pier and these airdrops, the United States “wasted the time and energy of decision-makers, and more than 200 million dollars of American taxpayers.”

– Terrible weather –
Joe Biden announced in March the establishment of this pier by American troops working off the coast of Gaza. Construction was completed at the beginning of May, but weather conditions meant that it was not put into service until May 17.

A week later, the swell caused the undocking of four American vessels participating in the operation. The pier was then damaged three days later by terrible weather conditions and had to be transported to the Israeli port of Ashdod for repairs.

Returned to operation on June 7, she was transported again to Ashdod on the 14th because of the swell. Aid deliveries finally resumed overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, the Pentagon announced.

Raphael Cohen, a political scientist for the American research organization RAND, believes that “the pier project has not yet produced the results expected by the Biden administration.”

“Beyond the weather issues, it proved quite expensive and did not solve the operational challenges of getting aid into Gaza,” he explains.

Despite these problems, the pier provides another crossing point for aid deliveries and allows them to be delivered even when land crossings are closed, Raphael Cohen said.

– Suspension –
But the American operation faces other difficulties, notably with the announcement on June 10 by the World Food Program of the suspension of its aid deliveries via the pier, “until an assessment of the safety conditions” for its staff.

Asked then about the reasons for this interruption, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General mentioned the Israeli operation two days earlier which had freed four hostages in Gaza, and which according to the Hamas Ministry of Health more than 270 dead.

Ten days after this suspension, WFP deliveries have still not resumed.

The UN assured that all projects aimed at increasing the arrival of aid in Gaza were welcome, but that the most important thing remained to allow delivery by road.

For Michelle Strucke of CSIS, “Gazans don't need a semblance of help; they need real help to reach them.”

Washington should “be careful not to support measures that look good on paper”, but which ultimately “do not result in significant aid reaching the Palestinians”, she argues. .

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