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Challenges in delivering aid to Gaza following completion of pier construction.



Humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza is currently being delayed due to obstacles faced by the US in getting a floating pier, known as Joint Logistics Over the Shore or JLOTS, in place and operational. The pier is intended to be used by the US, its allies, and aid groups to deliver aid to Gaza by sea from Cyprus. However, the system had to be moved to the Port of Ashdod last week due to heavy seas, and it is still awaiting departure. The JLOTS system has limitations in operating conditions, with only being capable of safely operating in conditions with a maximum of 3-foot waves and winds below 15 miles per hour.

The US is still aiming to move the system in place in the coming days and begin the operation. Once the pier is operational, the challenge may arise with how Israel proceeds with its operation in Rafah, which could impact the timing of when the pier and causeway are staged in the eastern Mediterranean. Despite these challenges, the US military has been utilizing a massive barge called the M/V Sagamore to move supplies to another ship, the M/V Roy P. Benavidez, off the coast of Gaza, which will be used to deliver the initial pallets of humanitarian aid.

Efforts are being made to finalize plans on who will transport the humanitarian aid from the pier to the shore in Gaza. The UK initially offered personnel to help drive aid trucks, but they later withdrew the offer due to security concerns. The US has ruled out using its own troops for this task. Instead, non-US civilian contractors are expected to drive the aid vehicles onto the beach. One plan being discussed is for Israeli contractors to transport the aid, although this arrangement is not finalized.

The Israel Defense Forces have agreed to provide a security perimeter around the pier system and aid operation. This has raised concerns among humanitarian groups and UN officials due to the IDF’s history of targeting aid convoys. Despite this, the plan is for the IDF to remain at a relative distance as the aid is transported and offloaded onto the beach in Gaza. Overall, the US and its allies are working to overcome logistical challenges to ensure the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza in a safe and timely manner.

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