Gaza pier to ‘soon cease operations’ after failed reanchor attempt, Pentagon says

Gaza pier to ‘soon cease operations’ after failed reanchor attempt, Pentagon says

The U.S.-built pier meant to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza “will soon cease operations” after it was unable to be reinstalled Wednesday, the Pentagon has revealed, bringing an end to a costly project plagued by issues.

U.S. Central Command (Centcom) personnel attempted to reanchor the temporary pier to the beach in Gaza to resume humanitarian operations, but “due to technical and weather-related issues,” the service members were unable to do so, according to a Thursday statement from press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

The pier and support vessels and equipment were returned to Ashdod, where they will remain until further notice, with a reanchoring date not set, Ryder noted.

“The pier will soon cease operations, with more details on that process and timing available in the coming days,” he added.

The failed reanchoring appears to be the final blow to the U.S.-led project, which in less than two months of operation has come up against bad weather, security issues and problems actually getting the assistance to starving Palestinians.

Since coming online May 17, the $230 million pier has had to be removed three times, first on May 25 after being damaged by high winds and waves. It was reconnected on June 7, but a week later on June 14 it was again removed due to weather. Days later, it was reconnected.

The last such removal was on June 28 because of bad weather, though distribution of assistance had already ceased due to security concerns amid Israel’s ongoing air and ground campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

To date, nearly 20 million pounds of food has been delivered from the pier to the Gaza shore, where it is meant to be collected by humanitarian organizations for further distribution. But officials had hoped it would provide far more aid to Palestinians.

Compounding issues, the United Nations on June 9 suspended deliveries from the pier after the Israeli military a day earlier used the area around it for a hostage rescue that killed more than 270 Palestinians.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, has stressed that the pier was only a temporary project meant to supplement aid flow through land routes into Gaza, which Israel has all but stifled as Gaza’s population of more than 2 million people faces famine.

Amid all the problems, the Defense Department’s watchdog last month launched a review of the U.S. military’s efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza through the pier.

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