July 19, 2024
Biden’s $320 Million ‘Pier to Nowhere’ Project for Hamas Crumbles at Sea

Biden’s $320 Million ‘Pier to Nowhere’ Project for Hamas Crumbles at Sea

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The U.S.-built pier to Gaza was broken apart by strong winds and heavy seas last week, just days after it became operational—the latest setback to a Biden administration boondoggle that faces criticism for failing to live up to its $320 million price tag.

U.S. officials say that the steel causeway connected to the beach in Gaza and the floating pier are being repaired and reassembled at a port in southern Israel, then will be reinstalled and working again next week.

“When we are able to re-anchor the pier back in, you’ll be able to see that aid flow off in a pretty steady stream,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuesday. “We’re going to continue to operate this temporary pier for as long as we can.”

While early Pentagon estimates suggested the pier could deliver up to 150 truckloads of aid a day when in full operation, that has yet to happen. Bad weather has hampered progress getting aid into Gaza from the pier, while the Israeli offensive in the southern city of Rafahhas made it difficult, if not impossible at times, to get aid into the region by land routes.

The Pentagon has also warned that the pier could lead to the U.S. military being directly involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin admitted as much during a congressional budget hearing last month.

At the hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., expressed concerns that the 1,000 US troops operating just off the coast of Gaza are prime targets for Hamas. A staging area for the pier has already come under mortar fire, as noted by antiwar.com.

Gaetz then asked if he thinks an attack is likely, and the defense secretary said it’s “possible.”

Austin insisted that there won’t be American boots in Gaza. But Gaetz said he didn’t see the difference of U.S. boots being on Gaza’s physical land and them being on a pier connected to Gaza.

The Pentagon still apparently doesn’t have a firm plan for protecting the pier.

When asked about the matter at the daily Pentagon briefing earlier this month, Air Force Gen. Pat Ryder said that  U.S. Central Command has been working very closely with a number of entities, including USAID, the Israelis, and other partners in the region, on putting together a comprehensive security plan for this temporary pier and the aid distribution routes.

Responsible Statecraft editor Kelley Vlahos blasted Gen. Ryder’s non-answer.

“We don’t know if aid can safely get into Gaza.  We don’t know where the trident pier is … Finally, how long will this pier be in operation? When asked, the DOD won’t say,” she wrote Wednesday.

“To ask ‘why’ wouldn’t hurt either,” she added. “Wouldn’t using U.S. leverage to ensure land routes were opened, rather than spending millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars and putting U.S. service members at risk be a better option?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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