The US is facing obstacles in getting aid to Gaza

CNN

The pier and causeway, known as Joint Logistics Over the Shore or JLOTS, will ultimately be used by the US, its allies and aid groups to get aid into Gaza by sea from Cyprus.
Even when JLOTS becomes operational, the weather and sea conditions may severely limit the ability to use the floating pier.
If winds or waves are stronger, loading and unloading using the JLOTS pier becomes dangerous.
Another potentially complicating factor is how Israel decides to proceed with its operation in Rafah, in southern Gaza, US officials said.
Finalizing plans to transport aid to shore The US is also still working to finalize plans about who will actually transport humanitarian aid from the pier to the shore in Gaza, according to multiple US officials familiar with the matter.
The US, meanwhile, has ruled out using its own troops to drive the aid to the beach, because the Biden administration does not want American personnel getting that close to Gaza, officials have said.
The Israel Defense Forces have agreed to provide a wide security perimeter around the pier system and the aid operation.
But the plan is for the IDF to remain at a relative distance as the aid is transported and offloaded onto the beach in Gaza, officials told CNN.

NEUTRAL

As the US continues to encounter difficulties in getting the floating pier it has built in place and operational in the eastern Mediterranean, desperately needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza will, at least for the next few days, remain sitting off the coast of Gaza on an American Navy cargo ship.

Ultimately, the United States, its allies, and humanitarian organizations will use the pier and causeway, also known as Joint Logistics Over the Shore, or JLOTS, to transport aid into Gaza via Cyprus. But because of the high waves last week, the system had to be moved to the Port of Ashdod, and it hasn’t left yet.

The ability to use the floating pier may be severely limited even after JLOTS is operational due to weather and sea conditions.

A 2006 paper on the limitations of the system from the Naval War College states that it can only be safely operated in conditions with maximum waves of three feet and winds of less than about fifteen miles per hour. According to Israel’s Marine Data Center’s sea condition forecast, waves in the region are frequently at or close to the 3-foot limit.

“JLOTS operations frequently have to wait for favorable weather and sea state conditions, as they must consider both safety and throughput requirements,” the authors stated.

CNN received confirmation from a defense official that the pier system’s limitations are true.

The official stated, “The bottom line is that executing the JLOTS mission is impacted by heavy seas.”. Using the JLOTS pier for loading and unloading becomes risky in the event of stronger winds or waves.

The way Israel chooses to carry out its operation in Rafah, in southern Gaza, could also complicate matters, according to US officials. A significant Israeli offensive there might lead to more security issues and affect the schedule for the construction of the causeway and pier in the eastern Mediterranean. According to CNN, there have been at least two incidents of mortar and rocket fire in the last few weeks at the designated staging area for the aid once it reaches Gaza.

As per a Pentagon spokesperson who spoke to CNN on Thursday, the US remains committed to implementing the system and starting the operation “in the coming days.”. For the time being, supplies are being moved to another ship off the coast of Gaza, the M/V Roy P, by a large barge known as the M/V Sagamore, which will be utilized to deliver the first pallets of humanitarian aid from Cyprus to the pier. Benavides.

The US military hired the ship Benavidez, and it has been assisting with the maritime corridor project in the eastern Mediterranean since last month.

completing the plans for delivering aid to the coast.

According to multiple US officials familiar with the situation, the US is also still working out details regarding who will actually carry humanitarian aid from the pier to the shore in Gaza.

Officials stated that at first, the UK had offered to send people to assist in driving relief trucks from the US military-constructed causeway off the coast of Gaza to the shore, where they would be picked up by UN workers under the supervision of the World Food Programme. However, the sources claimed that due to security concerns, the British recently withdrew that offer.

Meanwhile, the US has decided against sending troops to drive the aid to the beach, citing concerns expressed by officials about the Biden administration’s desire to keep US personnel away from Gaza.

According to a spokesman for the UK government, “we are working closely with the US, Cyprus, and other allies to ensure aid can be delivered over the pier once it is fully installed, but we do not currently have plans to deploy Armed Forces personnel onto Gazan soil as part of this initiative.”. “.

As part of “a host of contingency plans” that had been developed, the UK had offered to drive the aid down the causeway to the pier, according to another diplomatic source who was familiar with the conversations.

The most likely scenario is an as-yet-undecided third party, the source continued. “But for now, there are no plans for the UK to be involved in that way.”. “.

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Reporters were informed on Thursday by Pat Ryder that “those vehicles will be driven on the causeway onto the beach by non-US civilian contractors.”. “.

According to the officials and an additional source with knowledge of the situation, one idea under consideration is having Israeli contractors deliver the aid, CNN reported. The Pentagon says the pier will be operational within the next few days, but that could also change and is not confirmed.

The pier system and the relief operation will have a broad security perimeter around them, as agreed to by the Israel Defense Forces. Because the IDF has a history of attacking aid convoys and because some people believe they are operating under IDF authority, this has alarmed some humanitarian organizations and UN representatives, as CNN has previously reported. Yet, officials told CNN that the IDF is supposed to stay relatively far away while the aid is being moved and dumped onto the Gaza beach.

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