Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

A method being weighed for distributing U.S. aid in Gaza could put U.S. troops at risk, officials say

By 37ci3 Mar23,2024



One former and two current administration officials say the Biden administration is adamant that no U.S. personnel set foot in Gaza when it begins delivering humanitarian aid from the floating port, but that offering workers from other nations to deliver aid carries security risks.

The concerns are the latest wrinkle in the White House’s push to get aid to the enclave’s starving population via a floating dock. US military officials told NBC News that they first heard the dock idea had been greenlit when President Joe Biden announced it in his March 7 State of the Union address. The Pentagon still did it when Biden announced it. there is no approved plan for how to do it, including how to do it safely.

The first ships carrying the components of the docking system left for the Mediterranean six days later.

The military plans to build a port a few miles offshore where civilian ships can unload relief supplies. The aid would then be boarded by US Army boats and loaded onto trucks to be transported to a separate temporary bridge anchored ashore.

But since then management If the US doesn’t want its boots on the ground, someone else has to deliver the aid to the sites where it is distributed to Gazans. According to officials, one of the options being considered is having drivers and security guards from other nationalities. or private security guards, move trucks from the bridge to land to distribute aid, and then drive the empty trucks back to the bridge. The drivers and their safety have yet to be determined Israelis or Palestinians or any other nation.

Once the empty trucks are returned to the makeshift pier, they will be handed over to the Americans, who will take them to a floating seaport to fill them with aid and start the process all over again.

The proposal would protect US personnel from the risk of being attacked or fired upon in Gaza. Officials say the handover plan presents a distinct risk, as the aid vehicles will be driven and guarded by non-US military personnel as they travel through Gaza. “Someone could plant a bomb on a truck with a timer or a remote detonator and cause a disaster,” a US military official said.

Another option being considered, officials said, is to drive the trucks a short distance to the beach and likely unload within a security perimeter provided by the Israel Defense Forces. But this would require more time, resources and coordination, and result in Palestinians waiting longer for critical aid.

At a White House briefing this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the IDF would protect the supplies once the docking system was established. “There will be IDF assets that really secure Gaza so that the US has no boots left,” he said.

But U.S. military officials say they are still working out all the plans, including who will protect and search the trucks once they are in Gaza, and who will drive them to and from aid distribution points.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council declined to comment.



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