Photo by Ido David Natan/TPS-IL on 29 May, 2024

US Pier Breaks Up Off Gaza Coast, Aid Deliveries Suspended

Public By Pesach Benson • 29 May, 2024

Jerusalem, 29 May, 2024 (TPS) -- The US suspended deliveries of humanitarian aid through its pier off the coast of Gaza when the $320 million structure broke up in rough weather, the Pentagon confirmed.

“As of today, one of the Army vessels that was beached on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon has been recovered. The second vessel that was also beached near Ashkelon will be recovered in the next 24 hours, and the remaining two vessels that were beached near the Trident pier are expected to be recovered in the next 48 hours,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.

“I think, unfortunately, we had a perfect storm of high sea states and … this North African weather system also came in at the same time, creating not an optimal environment” for the pier, she explained.

Singh said the Navy would remove the pier from its anchored position and tow it to Ashdod for repairs. American personnel are not authorized to set foot in Gaza.

More than 1,000 metric tons of aid were delivered through the pier during the two weeks it was operational, Singh said.

Trucks carrying food, water, medicine, fuel, and other supplies from Cyprus arrived by ship and drove to the Gaza 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 in the Strip. One Palestinian was killed by gunfire during a hijacking. Deliveries were suspended for two days while security arrangements for the convoys were worked out.

Once fully operational, the pier is expected to handle up to 150 trucks 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 125 remaining hostages, 39 are believed dead.