Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL on 22 May, 2024

Amid Looting, No Gaza Aid Arriving on US Pier Has Been Distributed, Says Pentagon

Public By Pesach Benson • 22 May, 2024

Jerusalem, 22 May, 2024 (TPS) -- A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that none of the 596 tons of humanitarian aid that has reached Gaza through a US-built offshore pier has been delivered to Palestinians. Convoys of trucks carrying food, water and other assistance were temporarily suspended after Palestinians looted the trucks.

Asked during a press briefing if aid had been formally distributed to residents of Gaza, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder responded, “As of today? I do not believe so.”

Ships carrying trucks of food, water, medicine, fuel, and other supplies from Cyprus began arriving at the offshore pier on Friday and drove to the mainland on a causeway. The aid was offloaded at a staging area near Gaza City before being transferred to distribution sites around Gaza.

However, many of the trucks were looted while transferring the aid from the staging area to other distribution sites. One Palestinian was killed by a gun fire during hijacking. Ryder confirmed that the convoys resumed after being suspended for two days.

It wasn’t clear if the looters were acting on behalf of Hamas. Before Israel seized control of Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the terror group commandeered trucks delivering food, water, medical supplies and other assistance.

Egypt refuses to coordinate aid deliveries in protest against Israeli military operations in Rafah and has closed the crossing. According to UN official Edem Wosurnu, at least 82,000 metric tons of aid have accumulated on the Egyptian side of the crossing.

Israel is helping secure the pier but is not involved in protecting the convoys leaving the staging area.

Ryder said the US, Israel and the UN are discussing ways “to identify alternative routes for the safe movement of staff and cargo.”

As the $320 million pier becomes fully operational, the number of trucks passing through is expected to reach 150 daily.

The passage of aid deliveries is controversial in Israel.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told TPS-IL that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

“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 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 128 remaining hostages, some 40 are believed dead.