US spends $320m on Gaza’s pier while its people burn

Jun 4, 2024
Mediterranean Sea, Israel. 21 May, 2024. A private truck moves humanitarian aid from the MV Roy P. Benavidez to the Roll-on Roll-off Distribution Facility and then by U.S. Army vessel LSV-6 to the Trident Floating Pier, May 21, 2024, in Gaza, Palestinian Territory. The floating pier will be used to move humanitarian aid directly from ships to land for the Palestinian people in Gaza. Credit: SSgt. Mikayla Fritz/US Army Photo/Alamy Live News

If this scenario had been written into a novel at the turn of 19th century it would have been too unthinkable to believe it could actually take place – assisting in the bombing of innocent civilians, then charging in to feed them, appearing like the saviour of your victims.

It is a strange situation when a pier is constructed in the Mediterranean to facilitate the urgent delivery of food to starving people, whilst the other side of the water is hungering for Ozempic and other appetite suppressant drugs. It is incongruous, to say the least.

The pier was constructed in two months, primarily by US troops, in an operation that was to prevent the starvation of tens of thousands of people who are victims of bombs, most of which were made by the US. That’s jarring. If this scenario had been written into a novel at the turn of 19th century it would have been too unthinkable to believe it could actually take place. Not the engineering – but assisting in the bombing of innocent civilians, then charging in to feed them, appearing like the saviour of your victims.

Food insecurity in Gaza is artificial in so much as there’s no drought, pestilence or natural disaster that has wiped out the agriculture. Israeli government officials are perhaps feasting on calorific food and wine – no shortage there! Israel proclaims they ‘greened the desert’ so why not share some of the crops they have grown. The Palestinians are currently being starved so that the population may perhaps die and disappear; what other explanation could there be to deprive children and babies and innocent civilians of their sustenance and right to life. The converse in some sectors of the US, where there is widespread food security, means one may end up requiring appetite suppressant drugs because there is too much food. Is it dystopian or just deeply flawed.

The US and Israeli governments have become so appalling that a hastily constructed pier is necessary to get food to people they’ve decimated, instead of stopping the onslaught and death and ending the nightmare that is Gaza. The US have metaphorically taken part in mugging people in a dark alleyway and then outstretched their hands to help their victims up. It’s grotesque. The US government is attempting to put their conscience through the laundromat by trying to appear magnanimous with their mighty gesture of a pier to rescue the Gazan people. ‘Aww, shucks folks, no need to thank us.’

The UN is coordinating deliveries but insists that the most obvious and effective way to get the food to over 2 million people is to take it directly into Gaza…by land. This would be a much cheaper alternative and would be far more sustainable as it will not be susceptible to weather, tides and a backlog of a single system delivery. If perishable foods and shelf-life medicines are delayed, they may be unusable.

The cost of the pier was estimated at $320 million. That kind of money could have been used for much greater supplies of medical aid, food and shelter if deliveries were allowed through the Israeli controlled checkpoints. What a waste of money and resources to build a pier that will be dismantled at a later stage when there was a viable alternative. The fact that Gazans are now relying on US aid after America was a party to the onslaught makes one question to just where we have landed as a species. Biden, at his advanced age, will not live long enough to hear the history that will be told of his government’s complicity in this most heinous treatment of human beings, the likes of which is up there with some of the most horrifying war crimes. Like many leaders before him, he will probably go to his grave believing he did the right thing and his conscience is clear. Never mind that his time in office assisted, funded and gave the green light for Israel to attempt to decimate Gaza and the Palestinian people.

An added grief for many Gazans is that their buildings and homes were demolished in order for the landing area of the pier to have space to receive shipments. Homeowners were not asked if they minded if their miraculously spared homes from the bombings were available for purchase. No, they were just demolished without warning. It has a suspicion of ‘a land without people’ yet again.

Another aspect is that the pier is presumably a two-way sector which means that injured and seriously ill people could be rescued from Gaza, taken on board ships and delivered to hospitals that haven’t been bombed to pieces with fragments of doctors and patients remains splattered on the walls. Many of the children who have lost limbs could be taken to hospitals and fitted with prosthetics. I somehow doubt that will even be thought of, let alone enacted. Allowing Gazans to escape has never been part of Netanyahu’s plan.

The images of a food laden truck gingerly navigating the pier as it makes its way to land conjures up hope of political idealism: food for the starving. But the other ‘ism’ usually barges through the protests and humanitarian points of view. Political realism dictates that hegemonic power must be wielded and States kept dominant, yet those behind this ‘ism’ are only human beings who could engage their humanity. If a pier can be constructed in such a short time, the human beings behind the war machines can also stop this destructive onslaught onto the Gazans and the destabilisation of our world. Simplistic perhaps, but also doable with something as simplistic as goodwill and humanity towards those who share our planet. Besides, what’s the point of being top dog if there’s no one left in the yard to play with.

I recently attended a talk by the philosopher, A C Grayling. He finished by suggesting that although humankind can do such things as extract minerals from the moon, perhaps we should ask ourselves if indeed we should. The US could ask if their responsibility in this war is what made the engineering of a pier necessary. Since the US and Israel are breaking so many international laws, flouting the ICC and ICJ rulings, perhaps they could break their usual rules of brute force, hegemony and violence and address just where they think their countries are headed if rules don’t apply to either State and violence is too often their answer.

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