Written by 11:51 World

U.S. Military Faces Reality in Gaza as Aid Project Struggles

In the week since the U.S. military and allies attached a temporary pier to the Gaza shoreline, Pentagon planners have come face to face with the logistical nightmare that critics had warned would accompany the endeavor.

The Defense Department predicted that a steady stream of humanitarian aid would be arriving in Gaza via the pier by now, but little relief has reached Palestinians in the besieged strip, officials acknowledged this week. Several trucks were looted as they made their way to a warehouse, the U.N. World Food Program said, and the complexity of operating the pier project in a war zone is continuing to slow distribution.

The problems, as expected, are on the back end of the operation. Looting of aid trucks has continued, officials said, and forced the World Food Program to suspend operations for two days. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, suspended food distribution in Rafah on Tuesday, citing lack of security. It added that it had not received any medical supplies for 10 days because of closures and disruptions at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings.

The project was always expected to be difficult. For one thing, White House policy does not allow U.S. troops to be on the ground in Gaza. So the Pentagon has the ability to start but not finish the mission, a situation one military analyst likened to having the engine of a car but not the wheels.

As the pier project struggles to get going, the situation in Gaza remains dire. More than 34,000 people have died and more than 77,000 have been wounded, according to health authorities in the territory. The number of casualties will only increase as Israel expands its operation in Rafah, in southern Gaza.

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Last modified: 25 May 2024
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