Wed 19 Jun 2024 8:57 am - Jerusalem Time

American official: There are difficulties facing the floating dock in Gaza

Director of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, acknowledged the difficulties facing the floating dock established by the US army on the coast of the Gaza Strip, and expressed her appreciation for the humanitarian role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Strip.

Power said that land crossings are less expensive and allow relief to continue, but she confirmed in an interview with Al Jazeera that the floating dock is important in the US agency’s vision of the process of bringing aid into Gaza.

Power's admission regarding the difficulties surrounding the presence of the floating dock that her country built off the coast of Gaza, comes a few days after the US Central Command (Centcom) announced that it had decided to temporarily move the dock from its location on the Gaza coast to the Israeli port of Ashdod again, due to what was said to be expectations of a rise in sea waves.

Centcom said in a statement issued last Friday, “Today, due to expectations of high sea waves, the floating dock will be removed from its location in Gaza and moved again to Ashdod.”

She noted, "We did not take the decision to temporarily move the dock lightly, but it is necessary to ensure that the temporary dock continues to provide aid to Gaza in the future."

On June 7, the US Central Command announced the reconstruction of the floating pier off the coast of Gaza designated for transporting limited amounts of aid to the besieged Strip, after its collapse “due to rough waves.”

The floating dock was opened on May 17, but it quickly collapsed after a week of operation due to the waves, and parts of it separated and reached the shore of the city of Ashdod.

Palestinian circles say that the purpose of establishing the floating dock is to “serve the hidden political interests” of Israel and the United States, contrary to what is portrayed by Washington and Tel Aviv as a “humanitarian step.”

The position on UNRWA

Regarding the American position regarding UNRWA, Samantha Power said that there are serious allegations directed against UNRWA, and they must be verified, noting that she appreciates the humanitarian role that the agency plays in Gaza, but she is obligated to respect American law that prohibits dealing with it.

A statement from the US Agency for International Development said that Power met with partners in the humanitarian field and Israeli officials, including Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy.

The statement explained that the meeting discussed the challenges facing providing humanitarian aid in a safe and sustainable manner inside Gaza, noting that Power proposed to Israeli officials and humanitarian partners measures to enhance a safe environment for providing humanitarian aid.

The US agency said in its statement that the participants agreed on a number of next steps to urgently address the challenges facing the distribution of aid, medical services and sanitation. They also agreed to coordinate to meet again to review the progress that has been achieved.

Last January, US President Joe Biden announced the cessation of funding for UNRWA, shortly after Tel Aviv launched allegations accusing employees of the agency of participating in the attack of last October 7.

Last March, America decided to continue halting funding allocated to the agency until March 2025, and to open a discussion about alternative ways to assist the Palestinians humanitarianly.


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American official: There are difficulties facing the floating dock in Gaza