Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 27 April, 2024

$320 Million Gaza Pier to Be Operational in Early May, Provocative Flotilla Suffers Setback,

Public By Pesach Benson • 30 April, 2024

Jerusalem, 30 April, 2024 (TPS) -- The US military released the first photos of $320 million offshore floating pier being built to streamline humanitarian aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, World Central Kitchen resumed its activities in Gaza and a provocative Turkish flotilla suffered a setback.

“Construction of the floating JLOTS pier in the Mediterranean is underway,” US Central Command (Centcom) said on X, formerly known as Twitter. JLOTS, or “Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore” is military parlance for logistical naval operations in areas where ports are unavailable or inadequate. The pier is part of a US-led initiative to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea from Cyprus.

The US hopes the pier will be operational in early May. The Israeli military is providing security and logistical support.

Meanwhile, World Central Kitchen resumed operations in Gaza on Monday. The US-based organization suspended its activities after seven workers were killed in an airstrike on a convoy in Deir al-Balah on April 1. The Israel Defense Forces apologized saying the strike was the result of a misidentification.

WCK’s profile has risen as Israeli authorities have sidelined the UN Relief and Works Agency for distributing humanitarian supplies. The agency has been under fire amid revelations that many of its staff are members of Hamas, including several who participated in the October 7 attacks.

Hamas slashed food prices in early April and Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

Separately, a provocative Turkish-organized flotilla that was expected to leave Istanbul on Friday suffered a setback when Guinea-Bissau withdrew its flag from two of the convoy’s three ships. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition blamed Israeli pressure and vowed that the ships would eventually sail.

The flotilla is said to be carrying 5,000 tons of humanitarian aid aboard two ships, while nearly 1,000 passengers will travel on the third. Coordinating all this is The Foundation for Human Rights, Freedom and Aid, a radical Islamic Turkish institution known as the IHH which seeks to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Efforts to dissuade the flotilla’s organizers by offering to facilitate aid delivery through established channels have been rebuffed.

Israel and Egypt have maintained restrictions on Gaza to prevent weapons smuggling since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Strip.

The passage of aid deliveries is controversial in Israel. Food, water and fuel deliveries are frequently stolen by Hamas once they arrive inside the Strip. “Don’t feed Hamas” is a common chant at Israeli demonstrations against humanitarian aid deliveries, and the families of hostages have called on the government to leverage the aid for information, access and freedom of their captive loved ones.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, around 30 are believed dead.