DECEMBER 9, 2022
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US Considers Dismantling Gaza Pier Amid Rough Seas and Operational Concerns

US Considers Dismantling Gaza Pier Amid Rough Seas and Operational Concerns

The US military is contemplating the temporary dismantling of the pier it built off the coast of Gaza, known as Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS), due to concerns that rough seas could damage it again, CNN reported on June 14. Earlier this month, the pier and causeway system broke apart due to heavy waves and had to be repaired in the Israeli port of Ashdod. After being moved back to Gaza, operations resumed but were halted again due to adverse weather conditions expected to continue.

Operations at the pier have been further complicated by recent events. The World Food Programme (WFP) suspended its aid distribution operations after the Israeli army used the area near the pier for a rescue operation that involved extracting four Israelis from Hamas captivity. This operation resulted in the deaths of 274 Palestinians, raising significant safety concerns for aid workers.

WFP Director Cindy McCain announced the suspension, citing concerns for staff safety following the incident. The pause in operations will remain until a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted. Aid workers argue that substantial aid delivery to Gaza is only feasible through land crossings from Israel and Egypt, with the pier contributing minimally to the overall aid efforts.

Humanitarian aid officials criticized the pier as an "expensive distraction," noting that the primary entry point for aid, the Rafah crossing from Egypt, has been closed since May 7 due to Israel's offensive. The Center for Responsible Statecraft reported a significant shortfall in aid deliveries, with the pier unable to compensate for this deficit.

Furthermore, Israeli actions have impeded aid delivery, with drone strikes and gunfire targeting humanitarian workers and Palestinian police accompanying aid convoys. There is still no effective method to protect aid workers, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) lead prosecutor, Karim Khan, sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, accusing them of blocking food from reaching Gaza, which the ICC alleges constitutes the crime of "extermination." Amnesty International has also accused Israeli leaders of using starvation as a weapon of war against Gaza's population.

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