As US Aid Shipments Begin, Gaza Pier Denounced as ‘PR Move’

"It's completely absurd," said one humanitarian worker. "The solution to the problem here is obvious."

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As humanitarian shipments began trickling into Gaza via a U.S.-built temporary floating pier, Palestinians and aid workers on Friday renewed criticism of what they called an expensive and largely ineffectual publicity stunt that is no substitute for a cease-fire and opening of more land crossings into the besieged coastal enclave.

U.S. Army Central Command said that “trucks carrying humanitarian assistance began moving ashore” at around 9:00 am local time Friday as part of “an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor.”

The $320 million Trident Pier – which consists of a floating offshore barge and 1,800-foot causeway to the shore—is expected to eventually accommodate up to 150 trucks per day. According to United Nations agencies, an average of 200 trucks entered Gaza each day last month, far fewer than the prewar daily mean of more than 500 truckloads that U.S. and U.N. officials say are required to meet the needs of a population facing critical shortages of food, water, medicine, and other lifesaving supplies.

However, as famine grips northern Gaza – with malnutrition and dehydration killing dozens of people, mostly children – and at least hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians starve, Israel has been accused of blocking aid from those who desperately need it and using starvation as a weapon of war.

“We don’t want ships. We want the border crossing to open for people to come and go. We want safety. We want official borders,” Hassan Abu Al-Kass, a forcibly displaced Palestinian man, told The New York Times on Thursday.

Al-Kass compared the pier to the humanitarian aid airdropped by U.S. and other troops over Gaza, whose officials say that more than 20 people have been killed by the parachuting parcels, either by crushing or drowning while trying to reach offshore drops.

“Those planes, as well, that they bring here with the parachutes, and they throw food at us like dogs, like beggars, that does not work,” he said. “It falls on houses. It falls on people. It brings us problems.”

One unnamed humanitarian aid worker told U.S. investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill: “It’s completely absurd. The solution to the problem here is obvious and we need to end the occupation… Once the siege is lifted, humanitarian aid can roll in. A pier is a PR move.”

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, said Thursday that “to stave off the horrors of famine, we must use the fastest and most obvious route to reach the people of Gaza – and for that, we need access by land now.”

Washington Post columnist Ishaan Tharoor noted on social media Thursday that “no major humanitarian organization has asked for this pier, and most see it as a costly distraction that will do little to make a dent in meeting Gaza’s overwhelming humanitarian needs.”

“For that,” he added, “you need a cease-fire and open border crossings and less military obstruction.”

According to a report published last month, officials at the United States Agency for International Development concluded in a confidential memo to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel is violating a White House directive by blocking humanitarian aid from entering Gaza. Critics pointed to the leaked memo as more evidence that the Biden administration is breaking the law by supporting Israel’s assault on Gaza – which Palestinian and international officials say has killed, wounded, or left missing more than 125,000 people – with arms and diplomatic cover.

Parties to the South African-led genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, as well as human rights groups, accuse Israel of flouting the ICJ’s January 26 preliminary ruling ordering the Israeli government to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and ensure immediate delivery of humanitarian aid. Israel rejects charges of genocide and blocking aid.

Hundreds of U.N. and other aid workers – overwhelmingly Palestinians – have also been killed or wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza since October 7. Israeli troops have been accused of deliberately attacking both humanitarian workers and Palestinians trying to receive aid, including in the February 29 “Flour Massacre,” in which nearly 900 starving Gazans were killed or wounded while waiting for food distribution south of Gaza City.

Critics have slammed U.S. President Joe Biden for offering token aid to Gazans with one hand while lavishing Israel with billions of dollars of weaponry used to kill Palestinians with the other.

Earlier this month, Biden said he would stop sending bombs, artillery shells, and other arms to Israel in the event of a major invasion of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians forcibly displaced from other parts of the embattled Gaza Strip are sheltering alongside around 280,000 local residents.

However, as Israeli air and ground attacks pound the southern city, killing civilians including 22 members of one family in a single strike, Biden – who previously implored Israel to stop its “indiscriminate bombing” of Palestinian noncombatants – informed Congress this week that his administration will soon send another $1 billion in arms and ammunition, including tank and mortar rounds, to the Israel Defense Forces.

This, despite the Biden administration last week acknowledging “reasonable” evidence that Israel is using U.S.-supplied weapons in the commission of war crimes in Gaza, with the caveat that “we are not able to reach definitive conclusions” on the matter.

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

4 thoughts on “As US Aid Shipments Begin, Gaza Pier Denounced as ‘PR Move’”

  1. Another PR move was Mr. Biden (not my president) giving the commencement speech at Morehouse. Blah, blah, without meaning or meaning it, just to attempt to not lose the black vote. His next stop is to the NAACP to convince black voters that he cares about the Palestinians who are dying by bombs, by IDF soldiers shooting them (including children), dying by famine. This trip to Morehouse and to the NAACP next is the result of a strategy session, not meaningful. The most important votes for him in his demented mind is the vote of the donor class, the Jewish vote, and, the most important vote of all, AIPAC (a foreign agent). Jeremiah Wright got it right when he said “G-d D*mn America!”.
    Microsoft Edge will not let me post interviews with Professor Jeffrey Sachs and Max Blumenthal by Judge Napotilano on “Judging Freedom”. Professor Sachs discussed the “uniparty” delivering us to a hell like future. Max delivers truth in podcast, “The Occupation Comes Home”. Firefox will not let me give responses at all.

    1. I find it irksome that it’s once again “the left” identity that defends human rights.

      Satanic Evangelicals don’t believe in the immortal souls of Palestinians. They want so badly to reach Heaven that they’re willing to sell their souls to the Devil to get there, which of course means Evangelicals will burn eternally in Hell.

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