Congressman slams Biden over US-built Gaza pier fiasco

The $320 million price tag is too high, it puts U.S. troops in danger, and won’t accomplish its goals, says Rep. Michael Waltz.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The pier that the Biden administration built at the Gazan coast to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid is close to being a fiasco according to Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), who spoke to Fox News Digital Saturday.

“It’s unnecessarily putting our people in harm’s way,” the lawmaker said. “It’s costing a lot. It’s pulling assets that should be used elsewhere, and I just don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything near what [President Joe Biden] promised.”

There are about a thousand American troops involved in the project.

Three were injured, one critically, while operating a forklift on a U.S. cargo ship last Thursday, but there is always the danger of Palestinians either launching rockets at the pier or shooting American soldiers, as they are within rifle-range of the coast.

“They are within small arms range of any militants that want to fire on them from Gaza, much less the types of drones or missiles that we’ve seen in the Red Sea,” Waltz noted.

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Several Palestinian terror groups have said that they consider the floating port a target because it was “a service to the Zionist enemy and an act of propaganda and deception.”

They warned all Palestinian, Arab and international parties “against coordinating with the American administration or working in this port.”

Waltz also decried the “over $300 million” price tag of transporting, building and safeguarding the pier, which is about double the initial cost estimates.

“Obviously, the longer it’s there, the more those costs are going to skyrocket,” he pointed out.

Fellow Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told Reuters last month that “This dangerous effort with marginal benefit will now cost the American taxpayers at least $320 million to operate the pier for only 90 days.”

Waltz agreed with the minimal benefit appraisal, saying that the main point of the pier, the delivery of aid to Gazan civilians, was not being accomplished at all.

“It’s going to run into the exact same problems the land routes have faced,” he said. “Once they get across the border, the trucks get ransacked. They get attacked.”

“When they do make it to the warehouse, it’s Hamas controlling the warehouses,” he continued. “They sit under the veneer of the UN, but the UN is hugely influenced, if not controlled in Gaza by Hamas.”

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Last Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday that more than 569 metric tons of aid had been delivered to Gaza via the pier, but that “As it was being taken along the transportation route, it was intercepted by some people who took that aid off those vehicles.”

The list of woes afflicting the project can now include the grounding of one of the American vessels on the beach near a piece of the pier that had broken off, reportedly due to strong winds in the area.

Both Israeli and American naval craft worked unsuccessfully throughout Saturday to free the landing craft, LCM 8558, that had become stuck in the sand when a cable got twisted around its propeller.