Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

US Military Pier in Gaza to Cost $320 Million

Mon 29 Apr 2024 | 10:53 PM
Israa Farhan

US official and an informed source told Reuters that the estimated cost for the US Army to build a seaside pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid has risen to $320 million.

This cost, previously undisclosed, underscores the massive scale of the construction works, which the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) said involve about a thousand US military personnel, mostly from the Army and Navy.

The source stated that the cost has almost doubled from earlier estimates earlier this year.

Senator Roger Wicker, the leading Republican member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee led by Democrats, told Reuters when asked about the cost of building the pier that it has not only increased, it has exploded.

He added that this risky endeavor, which will bring only minimal benefit, will now cost American taxpayers at least $320 million to operate the pier for just 90 days.

President Joe Biden announced the establishment of the pier in March, after relief officials urged Israeli authorities to facilitate the arrival of aid to Gaza through overland routes.

By opening a second route for aid via the sea, Biden administration officials hope to avert famine in northern Gaza.

Israeli military campaign against the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) destroyed the Gaza Strip and pushed its population of 2.3 million people towards a humanitarian catastrophe.

The military campaign followed a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

However, Wicker and other lawmakers doubt whether the pier is a worthwhile endeavor, especially since US military personnel may become targets for Hamas militants.

Wicker questioned how much taxpayers will pay once the pier is completed or completed, adding that every day this mission continues, its cost rises, as does the level of risk for a thousand soldiers deployed within range of Hamas rockets.

Fears of dragging US forces into the war between Israel and Hamas intensified on Thursday with reports of mortar fire near the area where the aid pier will touch the ground.

Although there are no US forces there, some of them were miles away from the beach out of the range of the shells.

Biden ordered US forces not to set foot on the Gaza beach.

Initially, the pier will handle 90 trucks per day, but this number may increase to 150 when it operates at full capacity.

The UN said last week that the average daily number of trucks entering Gaza during April reached 200, peaking on Monday with 316 trucks entering.

A senior official in the Biden administration said last week that humanitarian aid coming from the pier will need to pass through Israeli checkpoints on land, despite Israel inspecting aid in Cyprus before shipping it to the enclave.

Israel wants to prevent any aid from reaching Hamas fighters to prevent boosting their military efforts.

The issue of aid being subject to inspection raises concerns about the potential delay in its distribution even after it reaches the beach.

The UN has long complained of obstacles to the delivery and distribution of aid in Gaza.

The international organization has launched an appeal to raise $2.5 billion to try to meet the most urgent needs of Gaza residents from April to December.