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US’s $320M Gaza Pier Will Be Permanently Removed, Months Earlier Than Planned

The pier has been operational for about a third of the time since it was first installed.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces emplace the Trident Pier, May 16, 2024, on the Gaza coast.

The U.S. military will permanently remove its Gaza pier months earlier than planned, with the pier having delivered an essentially negligible amount of humanitarian aid and having been disconnected for longer than it was operational in the two months since it was installed.

Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Tuesday that the military will reattach the pier this week, potentially on Wednesday, after which U.S. officials have said it will be permanently dismantled. Officials say it will operate for a few days in order to deliver aid that has been piling up in Cyprus.

The pier, which cost $320 million, was disconnected at the end of June due to weather conditions for the fifth time since it was installed on May 17. In all, the pier has been operational for roughly 18 days of the 54 days since it was connected — or only a third of the time. When it was first attached, the Biden administration had predicted that the pier would operate until at least September.

The pier has represented a complete failure at its stated mission of delivering aid to Palestinians, despite U.S. officials’ insistence that it has been a success. In that it has been successful, the pier allowed President Joe Biden to posture as though he was concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe Israel has created in Gaza during his State of the Union address in March, some critics have noted.

Meanwhile, questions remain regarding the U.S. military’s reasoning for having a presence in Gaza and why the U.S. allowed Israeli forces to use the area around the pier for military purposes, as U.S. and Israeli military officials have been in contact to coordinate pier operations.

For almost the entirety of the little time that aid came through the pier, none of it was being distributed to Palestinians. In May, the Pentagon admitted that none of the aid that had come through thus far had been distributed. Then, on June 9, the UN suspended use of the pier due to safety concerns related to Israeli forces’ attack on Nuseirat refugee camp — during which Israeli forces used the area around the pier to stage the massacre that killed over 270 Palestinians and injured nearly 700 more.

Because humanitarian groups have been unable to use the pier, the aid — much of it food — has sat, baking in the sun and likely spoiling as Palestinians just miles away are starving to death due to Israel’s famine campaign.

Analyses show that the amount of aid that has come through the pier is essentially negligible. Israeli forces began blocking nearly all aid from entering Gaza in May — after having already blocked the vast majority of it from entering in previous months — amid their invasion of Rafah.

Even with next to no aid entering Gaza, the food delivered by the pier made up less than 1 percent of the food pallets delivered in May. Since then, Israel has been even further decreasing the amount of aid they are allowing in.

U.S. officials have touted what they say are millions of pounds of aid that have been brought into Gaza via the pier, but have declined to specify how much of that aid, if any, was distributed to the Palestinian population.

At the same time, Palestinians desperately need more aid to come in — preferably through ground routes, which humanitarian groups have emphasized time and again are the most time and cost efficient way to deliver aid. On Tuesday, a group of UN experts declared that famine is underway all throughout Gaza as a result of Israel’s “intentional and targeted starvation campaign” and “genocidal violence” against Palestinians — a famine that U.S. officials are continuing to encourage Israel to carry out.

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