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Pentagon Says No Aid Unloaded At US Pier Has Reached Gaza

Above photo: US Army/Reuters.

The hold-up comes despite the fact that Washington’s ‘humanitarian’ pier has been in operation for a week.

The Pentagon said on 21 May that none of the humanitarian aid has been unloaded off of Washington’s floating pier on the coast of Gaza, as the US says it is working with the UN and Israel to identify safe routes into the besieged enclave.

Pentagon spokesman, Major General Patrick Ryder, said on Tuesday that the US, Israel, and the UN are working to determine “alternative routes” for the delivery of over 500 tons of aid that has been transported to the Gaza pier since last week.

The announcement comes after desperate Palestinians, stricken by famine as a result of Israel’s war, tried intercepting a number of trucks carrying aid from the pier over the weekend, according to Ryder.

“As of today, I do not believe so,” Ryder said in response to a question on whether any aid has been delivered to starving Gazans in the besieged strip.

“We do anticipate that assistance will be distributed in the coming days, of course, conditions permitting,” he added.

“Fully appreciating the desperation,” Ryder said in reference to the starving Palestinians who attempted to intercept aid trucks, “it is very important that this aid get to the people who need it most, that’s going to continue to be the focus … I understand, you know, the focus on why is this not working, or why is that not working, but what we’re focused on is how we can work to ensure that the Palestinian people get the aid.”

“We do anticipate that assistance will be distributed in the coming days, of course, conditions permitting,” he went on to say.

An unnamed US official told CNN that “the Defense Department and UN are still working to determine how much aid can be held at the [pier’s] staging area inside Gaza at any given time.”

The failure of Washington’s Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) project comes as aid is piling up on the border with Egypt, as the Rafah crossing remains shut by Israel due to its ongoing operation in the southernmost city, which has severely hindered efforts to deliver assistance to desperate Gazans.

All other crossings are controlled by Israel, and the small amounts of aid entering the strip are severely below what is required.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) said in early May that northern Gaza is now facing “full-blown” famine.

The US army announced on 16 May that it had completed the installation of the temporary pier on Gaza’s shore. Aid shipments began trickling onto the Gaza shore via the US port the following day, on 17 May.

Israel has repeatedly targeted starving Palestinians seeking aid in Gaza since the start of the war, including several incidents in late February and early March, which saw Gazans lined up for flour getting gunned down by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces have conducted at least eight airstrikes on aid workers and facilities in Gaza since October despite direct communication with the groups, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on 14 May.

Seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli strike early last month.

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