Biden’s Gaza Pier Plan Looks Like a Disaster

( – In mid-May, US military personnel built a floating pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid. Less than two weeks later it’s been damaged by bad weather and needs to be towed to Israel for repairs. Now defense experts are slamming the project and calling on the Biden administration to abandon it before anything else goes wrong.

A Troubled Project

On April 26, troops from the US Army Corps of Engineers, operating from US Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, started building a floating pier five miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip. By May 16 the pier had been completed, along with an 1,800-foot floating causeway that ran from the beach to an offshore loading platform.

The plan was that ships would deliver humanitarian aid to the pier; from there it would be transferred by barges to the end of the causeway, where it would be loaded onto trucks and taken ashore. The pier and causeway are built from modular floating platforms, part of the US military’s Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore (JLOTS) system.

Within days of being finished, the pier ran into problems. Three troops were injured during its construction, one of them seriously. Then, on May 21, the Pentagon revealed that although over 600 tons of aid had been delivered to the pier, none of it had been distributed to people in Gaza because of the security situation in the area. On May 19, the causeway was closed for two days after a Palestinian mob attacked and looted trucks leaving it; one local man was shot dead, probably by a Palestinian gunman.

Now things have gotten even worse. Over the weekend of May 25-26, the area was hit by bad weather, and rough waves broke the causeway apart. It will now be towed north to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where troops from US Central Command will repair it. This is expected to take “at least over a week,” after which it will be towed back to Gaza.

Time To Quit?

Not everyone thinks the pier should be put back into service though. Michael DiMino, a defense contractor and former CIA officer, said a JLOTS pier had been a “horrible idea” and “never a sound plan.” Now, he says, the Biden administration shouldn’t even bother trying to salvage it, and should take the “opportunity to say this has failed.”

Even the UN is unenthusiastic about the pier, while former USAID official Jeremy Konyndyk, who’s now working with a charity to deliver aid to Gaza, says it’s “humanitarian theater” and the only viable way to deliver aid is through Gaza’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt. Of course, that would mean Biden can’t point at a US-built pier and claim he’s doing something.

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