Pentagon Admits Gaza Aid Delivery Halted

Anas-Mohammed /
Anas-Mohammed /

The aid that’s been unloaded from the temporary pier the U.S. set up off the coast of Gaza hasn’t reached the Palestinian people. The Pentagon admitted on Tuesday that they’re still working with the U.N. and Israel to figure out safe delivery routes within Gaza.

Over the weekend, desperate Gazans intercepted trucks delivering aid from the pier, causing the U.N. to halt deliveries until these logistical issues are resolved. The U.S., Israel, and the U.N. are trying to find “alternative routes” for the safe delivery of the 569 tons of aid that’s already been shipped to Gaza since last week, according to Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

Ryder confirmed that none of the aid had been delivered to the people of Gaza as of Tuesday. Instead, the aid has been held in a staging area onshore and is only now beginning to be moved to warehouses for distribution.

A U.S. official mentioned that the Defense Department and the U.N. are still figuring out how much aid can be stored in Gaza’s staging area at any given time. The amount of aid reaching Gaza from its initial staging area in Cyprus has also been less than expected.

Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said last week that the U.S. aimed to transport 500 tons of aid per day via the pier and increase that amount over time. However, this goal has not been met, and the situation remains dire.

Last weekend, as trucks began moving the aid from the floating pier, a group of men in Gaza intercepted it, expressing distrust about its true purpose. Mounir Ayad, a Gaza resident, voiced his doubts, saying people were skeptical about the aid’s intentions, given the U.S.’s history of not supporting the Palestinian cause.

Ryder acknowledged that some aid was intercepted by locals but emphasized the importance of ensuring the aid reaches those who need it most. Despite the challenges, the U.S. continues to push for alternative ways to deliver aid, including through land routes. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in ongoing discussions with his Israeli counterpart to facilitate aid delivery via land crossings, including Rafah.

The U.S. and Israel have been negotiating to improve aid distribution, with the U.S. requesting that aid scanned in Cyprus be sent directly to the Israeli port of Ashdod, bypassing Egypt. This would streamline the process and hopefully expedite the delivery of much-needed supplies.

In the meantime, the U.S. has also conducted several air drops of humanitarian aid into Gaza in partnership with the Royal Jordanian Air Force. While it’s unclear how frequently these airdrops will continue, Ryder stated it’s an option available to them.

It’s clear that the situation in Gaza is desperate. While efforts are being made to deliver aid, the logistical and political hurdles are immense. Let’s hope these issues get resolved soon and the aid finally reaches the people who need it most.