Biden to Direct Military to Build Gaza Port to Deliver Aid

Biden to Direct Military to Build Gaza Port to Deliver Aid
Joe Biden Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden is directing the US military to establish a temporary port on the Gaza coast to ramp up the delivery of aid and ease the humanitarian crisis in the territory sparked by the Israel-Hamas war, according to senior administration officials. 

Biden will announce the steps in his State of the Union address on Thursday night, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to detail the plans.

The ships will carry food, water, medicine and other supplies, according to the officials, who said the temporary pier will provide capacity equivalent to hundreds of truckloads of additional assistance each day. US officials plan for control of the port to transition to a commercially operated facility over time.

Biden’s bid is only the latest effort by the US to address the dire conditions for the 2 million Gazans following Israel’s military campaign to root out Hamas, which is labeled a terrorist group by the US and European Union, after its deadly Oct. 7 attack.

The initiative will get underway as soon as Biden issues the order, the administration officials said. Building a temporary port has been described as a daunting undertaking. Officials cautioned Thursday that it would take weeks to build the facility and deliver the aid. They said the project would involve US military personnel on vessels offshore but wouldn’t require American forces to go onshore.

Initial shipments will come through Cyprus, aides said, which has the capability to screen shipments. Israel already was expected to approve a new aid effort that could get underway soon, with provisions from the United Arab Emirates being transported to Gaza from Cyprus.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said their nation welcomes Biden’s decision to deploy a temporary dock, and the project will be carried out with full US-Israeli coordination.

Read more: Hopes Fade of Gaza Cease-Fire Before Ramadan After Failed Talks

The move indicates a shift in strategy for the US, which had previously sought to persuade Israel to allow more aid to get to Gaza by land. But Biden has grown frustrated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the crisis in Gaza has gotten more dire, and has focused on workarounds.

Last week, the US began airdropping aid into the territory. The Defense Department has executed three airdrops into Gaza, including as recently as Thursday. Those provided 192 bundles with more than 112,000 meals, and more airdrops are planned in the coming days. But aid groups have said airdrops are a limited and inefficient way to provide relief.

US forces are already in the region or will begin to move there soon, the officials said. The US will work with like-minded countries, the United Nations and humanitarian partners to distribute the assistance, and will coordinate with the Israelis on the security on land near the port, they said.

Rabih Torbay, chief executive officer of the relief organization Project Hope, said in a statement that the US-planned port “could be a promising development in opening additional humanitarian entry points.” But Torbay called for a cease-fire in Gaza to let more aid trucks in immediately, saying that “people are dying from malnutrition and dehydration today.”


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  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Why bother to increase ‘aid’ into Gaza while simultaneously supplying more bombs etc to Israel … to continue with its indiscriminate decimation of the territory and the “human animals” there ? Seems more like a PR opportunity to counter the accusations of complicity to genocide coming ? Hey .. I almost forgot .. the more ‘arms’ it makes and supplies … is really good for the American ‘economy’ as it has been for a long time now .

    • Gerhard Gotpieter says:

      I understand your sentiment on the matter. Even if this is only for Biden’s PR campaign, I think any form of help for the desperate people of Gaza is better than none. But I agree with you – the US has been Israel’s enabler for a long time and ultimately they are in the best position to stop the genocide.

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