US re-establishes Gaza aid pier damaged in bad weather | Israel-Palestine conflict News

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US re-establishes Gaza aid pier damaged in bad weather | Israel-Palestine conflict News

The United States military has announced it has reinstalled a temporary aid pier in Gaza that had been damaged in bad weather, saying humanitarian assistance will flow through the floating dock in the “coming days”.

The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Friday that the pier will enable the delivery of “much-needed humanitarian aid” to Gaza.

The Palestinian territory has been brought to the verge of famine due to a suffocating blockade by Israel, a top US ally that receives billions of dollars in aid from Washington every year.

“In coming days, CENTCOM will facilitate the movement of vital food and other emergency supplies, in support of the US Agency for International Development,” the US military said in a social media post.

Aid groups have long warned that the US pier is an ineffective way to deliver aid and cannot be a substitute for opening land routes, which had been blocked or severely restricted by Israel.

Late in May, 20 aid organisations, including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, called the US-installed dock part of “cosmetic changes” that fail to address the crisis adequately.

“As Israeli attacks intensify on Rafah, the unpredictable trickle of aid into Gaza has created a mirage of improved access while the humanitarian response is in reality on the verge of collapse,” the groups said in a statement.

“The ability of aid groups and medical teams to respond has now all but crumbled, with temporary fixes such as a ‘floating dock’ and new crossing points having little impact.”

To critics, the $230m pier has come to symbolise the failures and contradictions of US policy in Gaza.

The administration of President Joe Biden denies that Israel is blocking aid to Gaza while regularly urging the US ally to allow more assistance into the territory.

The US also provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid, including heavy bombs and artillery shells that Biden has admitted have killed Palestinian civilians.

US laws prohibit military aid to go to countries that block US-backed humanitarian assistance.

Biden announced plans to build the pier in his State of the Union Address in March, saying the dock would be able to “receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelter”.

The project was completed in mid-May, but days later, waves swept away vessels supporting the pier, raising questions about the initiative’s viability. By the end of the month, the pier itself sustained damage and required repairs.

The pier is set to be operational again as Israel continues to block the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which previously served as a major artery for aid and humanitarian workers.

Another major issue worsening the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is the inability to deliver aid to people once it reaches the territory.

Israel has killed more than 200 humanitarian workers since the beginning of the war, according to Save the Children.

An Israeli air raid in April killed seven World Central Kitchen workers delivering aid in the territory, sparking global outrage.

Still, Biden has resisted calls to restrict or condition military aid to Israel, often reasserting his “ironclad” commitment to the US ally.

In recent days, Israel has killed dozens of Palestinians at UN schools in Gaza serving as shelters for displaced people.

An Al Jazeera visual analysis concluded this week that US weapons were used in an Israeli strike that killed at least 40 people at a school in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

On Friday, Hamas said the targeting of schools by Israel is part of the ongoing US-backed “genocide” against Palestinians.

“The administration of US President Joe Biden bears full responsibility for these ongoing crimes by continuing to supply the fascist entity with weapons and munitions, as well as political and diplomatic support, and terrorizing and obstructing international justice from assuming its role in stopping this genocide and holding its perpetrators accountable,” the Palestinian group said in a statement.