Pentagon removing Gaza pier, no clear date on reinstallation

The U.S. military is once again removing the Gaza pier due to poor weather, and there is no clear timeline on when it would be reanchored, the Pentagon confirmed Friday.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said heavy seas and high winds forced the military to temporarily dismantle the pier and send it to the Israeli port city Ashdod. She did not say when it would come back online, amid speculation that it may not at all.

“When the commander decides that it’s the right time to reinstall that pier, we’ll keep you updated on that,” she said. “As we always said with the pier, it is meant to be temporary.

“It is not the long-term solution or solve for land routes; we know that’s the most effective way in,” Singh added. “But that’s really a decision the commander will make as we continue to evaluate the high seas states.”

Since the pier came online May 17, more than 19 million pounds of humanitarian aid has been delivered through the maritime corridor. In the past seven days, the U.S. has delivered around 10 million pounds of humanitarian aid to the marshalling area in Gaza through the pier.

The $230 million pier has been removed at least three times since it was first installed. The first time was by accident when poor weather broke apart the causeway and forced the military to conduct a repair.

The Pentagon’s watchdog launched a review of the U.S. military’s efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza through the pier.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to the Pentagon this week expressing his concern about an operation he said was “riddled with setbacks, sidelined more often than operational, and can only be classified as a gross waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“I urge the administration to immediately cease this failed operation before further catastrophe occurs and consider alternative means of land and air-based humanitarian aid delivery,” Rogers wrote.

The Pentagon has argued the pier is a crucial part of the humanitarian aid efforts into Gaza, where Palestinians are struggling to access food and water as Israel fights a major war against Hamas.

“This pier has provided the second amount most volume of aid over all the other crossings in Gaza,” Singh said Friday, noting it has demonstrated its importance.

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