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Challenges in delivering aid to Gaza post pier construction

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The much-needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza that is currently being held off the coast of Gaza on an American Navy cargo ship due to obstacles in getting the floating pier in place. The system, known as Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS), is aimed at allowing aid groups to deliver aid from Cyprus to Gaza by sea. However, due to heavy seas, the system had to be moved to the Port of Ashdod and has not yet left the area. Additionally, the operational limitations of the system, which require wave heights to be below 3 feet and winds to be less than 15 miles per hour, further impact the ability to use the floating pier.

The potential impact of heavy seas on executing the JLOTS mission is a significant concern, as loading and unloading becomes dangerous with stronger winds or waves. Another complicating factor is the Israeli operation in Rafah, which could raise security concerns and impact the staging of the pier and causeway in the eastern Mediterranean. Despite these challenges, the US aims to move the system into place in the coming days and initiate the operation. The US military has begun the process of delivering humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Gaza using a barge called the M/V Sagamore, which will transfer supplies to the M/V Roy P. Benavidez off the coast of Gaza.

The process of finalizing plans for transporting aid from the pier to the shore in Gaza is still ongoing, with the UK initially offering to provide personnel for this purpose. However, the UK recently withdrew this offer due to security concerns, and the US has ruled out using its own troops for this task. Non-US civilian contractors are expected to drive the aid vehicles from the causeway onto the beach in Gaza, with discussions underway about the potential involvement of Israeli contractors in transporting the aid. Despite concerns about the IDF’s history of targeting aid convoys, the plan is for the IDF to provide security around the pier system while maintaining a relative distance during the aid delivery process.

As the Pentagon works to establish a secure and efficient operation to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, the complexities of weather conditions, operational limitations, and security concerns pose challenges to the implementation of the JLOTS system. Despite these obstacles, efforts are being made to move the system into place and begin operation in the near future. The involvement of non-US civilian contractors and potential Israeli contractors in transporting aid from the causeway to the shore reflects the collaborative nature of the humanitarian aid delivery process. With security measures in place to protect the aid operation, organizations and officials are working to ensure that aid can be quickly and safely delivered to those in need in Gaza.

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