Biden to order US military to build Gaza port for direct aid shipments

President Biden to announce plans to build emergency port on Gaza coast for aid transfers.

By World Israel News Staff

The United States military will build an emergency temporary port on the coast of the Gaza Strip to enable the direct, large-scale maritime transfer of aid to the coastal enclave, senior Biden administration officials told reporters Thursday.

“We are not waiting on the Israelis. This is a moment for American leadership,” the official told reporters, adding that President Biden will formally announce the plan in his State of the Union address Thursday evening.

“Tonight, the president will announce in his State of the Union address that he has directed the US military to undertake an emergency mission to establish a port in Gaza, working in partnership with like-minded countries and humanitarian partners.”

“This port, the main feature of which is a temporary pier, will provide the capacity for hundreds of additional truckloads of assistance each day.”

Israel “fully supports” the Biden plan, an Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A Biden administration official said the White House “will coordinate with the Israelis on the security requirements on land and work with the UN and humanitarian NGOs on the distribution of assistance within Gaza.”

The establishment of a Gaza port will be just part of a broader effort by the U.S. to maintain a pipeline for the transfer of aid to the Gaza Strip from Cyprus, to be overseen by American military personnel on naval vessels in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Initial shipments will come via Cyprus enabled by the US military and a coalition of partners and allies. This new significant capability will take a number of weeks to plan and execute. The forces that will be required to complete this mission there are either already in the region or will begin to move there soon.”

“The concept that’s been planned involves the presence of US military personnel on military vessels offshore but does not require US military personnel to go ashore to instal the pier or causeway facility that will allow the transportation and humanitarian assistance ashore.”

The plan is the latest proposal by the Biden administration, which has pressured Israel to dramatically increase the amount of aid permitted into Gaza.

While the Netanyahu government has ratcheted up the volume of aid allowed into the coastal enclave, Israel has expressed concern over Hamas seizures of incoming goods, with the IDF experimenting with secured passages through the Gaza Strip to distribute aid while avoiding the Hamas stronghold of Rafah on the Egyptian border.

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The Biden administration expressed concern, however, after a pair of incidents during the distribution of aid from two convoys last Thursday outside of Gaza City.

In the first case, thousands of Gazans mobbed a convoy of approximately 30 trucks – the largest convoy to pass through the IDF-administered passageways – causing a stampede that killed over 100.

In a separate incident, gunmen opened fire on a convoy, forcing it to stop, with hundreds of Gazans looting the trucks. IDF forces stationed nearby opened fire on Gazans who approached them, wounding 10, an army spokesperson said.

Following the stampede, the Biden administration ordered the military to begin air drops of aid to Gaza, until a long-term alternative could be devised.