Monday, June 24, 2024

Hamas: US floating pier for Gaza aid publicity stunt

The Palestinian group Hamas has rejected Washington's establishment of a temporary floating pier designed to increase the amount of aid getting into the besieged Gaza Strip as a publicity stunt “to beautify its ugly face".

“The floating water dock off the coast of Gaza does not meet the needs of our Palestinian people for food. We demand the opening of land crossings and the immediate and urgent entry of aid and goods through them,” the Gaza government media office said in a statement issued on Friday night.

US President Joe Biden ordered the construction of the pier in March. Shortly afterward, the US deployed naval ships to the Eastern Mediterranean to construct the “floating pier” that will reportedly receive aid from Cyprus, and send it onward to Gaza.

The US announcement came amid mounting pressure on Israel to allow aid into Gaza as the UN and other aid agencies have warned of imminent famine due to Israel’s prevention of the land-based delivery of life-saving aid to Gaza.

The US military announced on Friday that trucks carrying humanitarian assistance will soon begin moving ashore “in the coming days.”

USAID response director Dan Dieckhaus stated on Wednesday the construction of the pier – known as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) system – is complete.

Hundreds of tons of aid have arrived in Cyprus, where screening takes place before being loaded onto ships for delivery to the pier, reports added.

The US military said commercial ships would collect pallets from Cyprus and deliver them to a floating platform anchored several kilometers off the coast of Gaza.

The Gaza government announced in the statement that the “American administration is trying to beautify its ugly face and appear civilized by establishing a floating water dock off the coast of Gaza City, claiming its purpose is to deliver humanitarian aid and food to our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, who are subjected to policies of starvation, forced displacement, and genocide carried out by the ‘Israeli’ occupation army, with active participation, full involvement, and real endorsement from the American administration”.

“Since the start of this genocidal war, the US has continued to supply the occupation with over 200,000 rockets and bombs, some weighing 2,000 pounds of explosives, used by the occupation to annihilate entire residential neighborhoods. This has resulted in over 35,000 martyrs, more than 79,000 wounded, and 10,000 missing,” the statement read.

“We question the intentions of the American administration, which is managing and perpetuating the genocide war, forming a protective wall for the ‘Israeli’ occupation, and continuing its absolute support for the war against civilians,” it added.

The Gaza government said the United States “has opposed the cessation of this war against civilians, children, and women, against the housing sector, infrastructure, and humanitarian services sectors in the Security Council multiple times.”

“Additionally, it has not exerted real pressure on the occupation to open the crossings and allow aid to enter, but has instead been an obstacle to any solutions for the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.”

“Amidst the policy of starving 2.4 million people in the Gaza Strip, including 2 million displaced persons who live on daily aid and require more than 7 million meals daily, what it will provide will not break the famine or cover this immense need for our people in the Gaza Strip. Instead, it will give the occupation a chance to prolong this war that has consumed everything,” it noted.

“We demand the immediate and urgent opening of the land crossings and the entry of various aids and fuel through them. We also express our deep astonishment at the introduction of patchwork and partial solutions, circumventing real solutions to the deep humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip that continues to affect civilians with all harshness,” the statement read.

The Gaza government stressed that it holds Israel and the American administration “fully responsible for the deliberate and premeditated policy of starvation and blockade against our defenseless Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

“We also hold them responsible for the continuation of the genocide war and the commission of crimes against humanity, international law, and global human rights principles,” it stated.

In March, experts said Israel backed the US plan to construct the pier in order to retain control over the aid deliveries and as a way to displace Palestinians from the besieged strip via the Mediterranean Sea, ahead of an expected invasion of the southern town of Rafah, where nearly more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.4 have sought shelter from Israeli strikes elsewhere in Gaza.

Israel unleashed the Gaza onslaught on October 7 after Hamas-led Palestinian resistance groups carried out Operation al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 35,300 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 79,300 others, according to the Gaza-based health ministry update on Friday.

The occupying entity has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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