What’s the real purpose of Biden’s Gaza port?

A boat is seen in a body water

A boat carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza departs from the port of Larnaca, Cyprus on 12 March.

George Christophorou Xinhua News Agency

The first aid ship set sail from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after US President Joe Biden announced plans for a maritime corridor to the coastal enclave.

The ship is carrying about 200 tons of food, water and medicines.

The United Arab Emirates is funding the mission, which is organized by the US-based World Central Kitchen charity. The ship is supplied by a Spanish organization by the name of Proactive Open Arms.

The ship and its accompanying barge should arrive at a coast in northern Gaza within two days at most, and will dock at a jetty built by the Spanish charity.

Biden had announced plans to build a “temporary pier” off the Mediterranean coast of Gaza to establish a maritime corridor of aid between Gaza and the rest of the world.

“Tonight, I’m directing the US military to an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the coast of Gaza that can receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters,” Biden said during the State of the Union address last week.

“A temporary pier will enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day,” Biden added.

The “temporary” port, which officials said would take 30 to 60 days to build, would be attached to a temporary causeway at the coast of Gaza.

The US dispatched the first logistics vessel on 9 March carrying equipment to build the pier.

Countries that have consistently supported Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza or failed to call for a ceasefire are on board for the “maritime corridor” plan.

The European Union, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US are all behind the project in various capacities.

Famine engineers endorse plan

The “Amalthea Initiative” will see Israel taking part in the inspection of goods in Cyprus before ships are routed towards the Gaza coast.

And the Israeli military will be managing the “security” for the port, Biden said.

“Who is going to provide security for the port you’re planning to build to offer aid in Gaza?” a reporter asked Biden as news of the port plans broke.

“The Israelis,” the US president responded.

The Jerusalem Post said the maritime corridor plan was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s idea, citing an unnamed “senior diplomatic source.”

Netanyahu had reportedly first proposed the plan to Biden in October, and pressed the issue again with the US president in January.

“This source, close to the prime minister, insinuated that Biden was simply implementing a plan by Netanyahu, not actually initiating anything new,” the Post reported.

While touring Gaza’s coast in a naval vessel on Sunday, Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant expressed enthusiasm about the plans of a maritime corridor.

“The process is designed to bring aid directly to the residents and thus continue the collapse of Hamas’s rule in Gaza,” he said.

Gallant was reportedly briefed alongside the Israeli navy commander and the head of COGAT, Israel’s bureaucratic arm of the military occupation, on Sunday about the logistics of building the port.

It was the same Gallant who announced on the third day of Israel’s genocide in Gaza that Israel would be “imposing a complete siege on [Gaza]. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel – everything is closed.”

“We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly,” he said at that time, speaking of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom are children, and most of whom are refugees from areas beyond the Gaza boundary.

A few days ago, Gallant said: “We will bring the aid through a maritime route that is coordinated with the US on the security and humanitarian side, with the assistance of the UAE on the civil side, and appropriate inspection in Cyprus, and we will bring goods imported by international organizations with American assistance.”

Political motivations

But why would Israel, the engineer of the Gaza famine, endorse the idea of establishing a maritime corridor for aid to address a crisis it initiated and is now worsening?

This might appear paradoxical if one were to assume that the primary aim of the maritime corridor is to deliver aid.

Palestinians in Gaza received the news about the planned port with fear and suspicion.

Analysts have speculated that this could be a ploy to eliminate Egypt as an outlet between the Gaza Strip and the rest of the world, and sever the coastal enclave’s reliance on Egypt economically and politically by way of the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing – the sole point of exit and entry for most people in Gaza.

This would ostensibly complete Israel’s control of the Gaza Strip without dependence on Egyptian cooperation, reliable as it may have been.

Abdel Bari Atwan, a Gaza-born world-renowned Palestinian journalist, invoked the US-facilitated evacuation of thousands of Palestinian guerilla fighters of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Beirut in 1982 as an insight into what these plans could possibly suggest.

Palestinian fighters were transferred by US warships off the Beirut coast to Cyprus and eventually to Tunisia.

Atwan indicated that the maritime corridor would create a pathway for the forcible evacuation of Palestinians by sea.

Other analysts have expressed similar fears.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken implicitly denied speculation that this move would permanently close the border at Rafah and the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“And I want to emphasize: It is a complement to – not a substitute for – other ways of getting humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” Blinken said.

“And, in particular, overland routes remain the most critical way to get assistance in and then to people who need it.”

Those assurances will do little to assuage concerns. If and when the American and Israeli-controlled port is in place, there is no telling what Tel Aviv and Washington may then do.

“Glaring distraction”

Michael Fakhri, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, slammed what he called “absurd” US plans for getting aid into Gaza, whether through airdrops or the temporary port.

“From a humanitarian perspective, from an international perspective, from a human rights perspective, it is absurd in a dark, cynical way,” he said.

Human rights groups have dismissed announcements of building a temporary pier as a distraction from Israel’s systemic and deliberate policy of starvation of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The proposed maritime humanitarian corridor and temporary seaport is another tool to weaponize aid,” the Palestinian refugee advocacy group Badil said.

It is meant to “absolve Israel of its responsibilities and obligations, and support Israel in its ‘day after plans’: to eliminate and replace UNRWA [the UN agency for Palestine refugees] and establish a potential mechanism for Palestinian forcible transfer out of the Gaza Strip.”

UNRWA’s operations in Gaza are on the verge of collapse as donor countries, including the US, the agency’s largest funder, suspended $440 million worth of aid during February after Israel made unverified allegations that a handful of the UN refugee agency staff had been involved in the attacks of 7 October.

The agency plays a significant role in distributing aid within Gaza. That has been recognized by countries such as Sweden and Canada, both of which announced in the past few weeks that they are resuming their financial contributions to UNRWA’s work.

Twenty-five charities and human rights groups have issued a statement that “an immediate and permanent ceasefire” as well as the opening of “all land crossings” should be the main priority.

“States cannot hide behind airdrops and efforts to open a maritime corridor to create the illusion that they are doing enough to support the needs in Gaza: their primary responsibility is to prevent atrocity crimes from unfolding and apply effective political pressure to end the relentless bombardment and the restrictions which prevent the safe delivery of humanitarian aid,” the groups stated.

Signatories include Amnesty International, Oxfam, Action Aid International and the American Friends Service Committee.

The US plan for a temporary pier in Gaza “is a glaring distraction from the real problem: Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate military campaign and punishing siege,” Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

“This is not a logistic problem, it’s a political problem,” the group added.

“The food, water and medical supplies so desperately needed by people in Gaza are sitting just across the border.”

Satellite images show thousands of aid trucks stuck at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, unable to enter Gaza because Israel won’t allow them in and Washington refuses to use any of its enormous leverage to compel Tel Aviv to do so, or to end the siege on Gaza.

The construction of a temporary pier and the dropping of aid packages from the sky are political gestures aimed at maneuvering and establishing political realities on the ground.

There is no technical reason why aid trucks should not be able to enter Gaza by land. It is the most efficient, cost-effective and safe method of delivering aid to Gaza.

Airdrops kill

Israel has been allowing several countries, with the assistance of the Jordanian air force, to drop aid packages into the Gaza Strip.

This effort is fully coordinated with Israeli authorities.

The Jordanian air force collaborated with the United States, Belgium, France and the UK to drop aid into the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army published a video showing it coordinating one of those airdrops this month.

“Israel is in contact with several countries worldwide and enables the parachuting of humanitarian equipment in a monitored and coordinated manner,” the Israeli army said.

Footage of aid packages attached to parachutes went viral on social media, showing Palestinians in Gaza rushing to retrieve whatever they could from the airdropped supplies.

The demeaning airdrops amount to humanitarian aid theater that does nothing to end the systematic and intentional campaign of starvation Israel and its American and European allies, with the complicity of regional regimes, are waging against Palestinians.

Aid packages dropped by a coalition of countries into the Gaza Strip killed five Palestinians and injured others last week.




The Pier is a multiprong approach. It provided a means to assist in the aid distribution desperately needing, while circumventing the Israeli stalemate of getting aid in. Next, by plcing the assistance off the coast, the USA and allies will be able to do evacuations were discussions and negotiations failed and the Israeli offensive did go into Rafah. By forcing aid to get inspected in Cyprus, it allows Israel control in terms of what goes into Gaza, but from there, the supplies can be escorted safely to the Gazan people. It also provides an opportunity for the world to see who Hamas really is. Were Hamas to attack the dock or stall the aid, the world would see that Hamas is the terrorist entity Israel claims to be fighting. It also shows that the US does care about humanitarian causes and could bring peace to some of the hostilities recently encountered by US forces against Iranian proxies. By initiating help into Gaza, it also shows the Houthis a certain sense of goodwill and were they to continue to artack shipping vessels off the coast of Yemen, it would further show the world that their honorable aims are not as they seem.

Were Israel to decide to attack, evacuation of women and children coudl occur at the pier. Were Hamas to stop this, it would further degrade their international reputation. Were Hamas not to stop the evacuation, all that would be left were Hamas fighters which would allow the Israelis to pick up their assault and hasten Hamas' fall.

By having the pier there, we also have a fleet that will engage any hostiles who attempt to harm any evacuating civilians. When the war stops, the US and allies are also in an available position to work with aid groups to help rebuild housing and infrastructure in Gaza once Hamas is eliminated.

Aid going in from the pier is good. Denying that is silly. But, if Rafah is attacked then we can have ships ready to house refugees while the attack is underway.

Critical thinking folks


The last sentence is what I will confine myself to. I hope that will lead the author to indulge in a little critical thought.
Currently there is about 2 million people either displaced or about to be in Gaza. In history there have been but a few mass evacuations or landings of over a few hundred thousand people. The evacuation of Dunkirk would be perhaps the most successful and involved around 400,000 disciplined troops that were evacuated over seven days from a well build pier and sloping beaches. Troops once embarked from the pier could be transported to ports a few miles across the channel and ships could return, sometime twice a day or more. Beach evacuations were slow and made a small contribution. This in no way compares to the situation off Gaza. there is no comparable sized fleet, no decent sized pier. and no close port to disembark refugees (not disciplined soldiers) so each ship could only make one trip every couple of days. As an indication, a modern destroyer could at a pinch take about 300 persons, a larger ship, that could not use the pier maybe 2000 (you can read up on world war 2 ship rescues). This is assuming any country would have the means or the inclination to take 2 million starved and diseased refugees at short notice.
This is less critical thought and more a Zionist pipe dream. Smoke less, think more, and try to be a better person.


The US clearly doesn't care about humanitarian causes when it comes to Arabs or the Global South in general. If they did, they wouldn't meddle with our democracies and treat our civilian casualties like no big deal. The list of items that have been blocked out of Gaza is outrageous, from toys, coriander, musical instruments, and A4 paper during the initial blockade, to water purifiers and solar-powered fridges now being held up in Egypt.
Not to mention the lack of action against the protesters blocking trucks trying to get into Gaza to distribute the aid that did get authorized. Not only that, the port will take 30 to 60 days to be built which indicates they are planning on keeping this genocide going for much longer. Israel wants to fragment and divide Gaza like it has been doing to the West Bank and the US is going to allow this, which is completely outrageous.


"Were Israel to decide to attack, evacuation of women and children coudl [sic] occur at the pier. Were Hamas to stop this, it would further degrade their international reputation."

Yeah...likely story that such an action would be mere coincidence if it happened, eh? Hamas is Palestine, and their reputation grows daily with every Zionist who gets blow'd the fuck up, sometimes with their own ordnance. Nobody is fooled but you. Bye, Cohen. 🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻🔻


I believe this gives them opportunity to install additional surveillance and intelligence tools portside. Installation of this distraction feels a little too sparse and pitiful on its own; it makes me think about ulterior motives and use cases. I also wonder the intentions of the signatories such as Amnesty International; don't they have a bad track record with human rights? Any commenters have insight on those companies listed?

I am merely speculating of course... hopefully not irresponsibly so, I don't want to induce paranoia but can't help but think there is something else at play here. If there is not maliciousness involved, could it REALLY only be a meek, genuine "try" of the free market facilitating "progression"? Uhm.. Probably not. I hope I am wrong, but it is hard for me to not tap into the overly opportunistic intelligence angle the US loves to deploy. Indeed, my speculation is not novel, yet it has been nagging at me so I felt obliged to comment.

this reporting is superb and very thorough... Much appreciated... EI is an invaluable resource. thank you very much.


An organization called World Central Kitchen, based in Washington D.C. and with an active presence wherever U.S. national security interests are involved- Haiti, Ukraine, now Palestine- has been designated by the American government as the preferred supplier of food aid to Gaza in this bloody scam. World Central Kitchen is fronted by a celebrity chef, but once you get past the door, you run into an old familiar collection of neocon spooks. WCK is a tool of U.S. foreign policy, and they play an ignoble role in furthering its aims. First, you ruin a country. Then you selectively feed some of the survivors.


Seems "WCK" is indeed a plaything of the Amerikkkan "deep state" (broadly construed), which explains why a "Canadian-American dual citizen" and Canadian armed forces veteran was among the dead in the missile strike on the "soft-bodied vehicle" (Sprinter van).


Good piece. Time will tell. Perhaps this is also a measure designed to deny the ICJ's 'plausibility' of USraeli genocide by performative efforts to feed Palestinians.


If it is possible for a the israeli government to murder and torture unhindered for months, then only because this government is protected by the so-called international community. To lurking in ambush for starving civilians, women, children in order to kill and terrorize them; no animal is capable of such sadistic perversions, only the human being.
The port is a tactical diversionary maneuver.


Deportation. It will be the port of deportation for the Palestinians.


New Zealand, a land with a rich history of colonial genocide, was among the first to cut off UNRWA funding when Israel lodged her "unequivocal evidence" of Hamas infiltration of the agency. The New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters assured New Zealanders he would investigate these accusations before re instituting aid. Well months have gone by and the Minister has produced nothing. However New Zealand's trade minister has just announced a rare trade deal with the USA. This was the Quid pro Quo for our nations complicity. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose to eat the sewage our government serves up. New Zealand, first amongst genocidal nations.


This initiative is calculated to bring the starving population of Gaza under the direct control of the Israeli military through strategic delivery of foodstuffs and other desperately needed supplies. After the first somewhat chaotic provisioning, Palestinians will be forced to register and qualify for aid. This process is meant to seal the removal of UNRWA from the scene, replacing it with an Israeli installed bureaucracy. In order to qualify for assistance, applicants must demonstrate a co-operative attitude toward the occupation forces. This will include betrayal of friends, neighbors, associates, and family members. Treason for food and medicine will become the watchword of the day, and Israel will impose a form of control that dispenses with the last formal pretense of a governing body over the Gaza Strip. They look at the terrain, the physical destruction they've wrought, and they ask, "Why not?" Why not treat them fully as the animals Gallant has called the Palestinians? Line them up and dump swill in their trough- for the ones marked for survival. As for the rest-

Of course, this toxic ambition exists only at the planning stage. And the Resistance continues to show that Israel is incapable of subduing the defenders of Gaza. But clearly, the policy of starvation has a calculus aside from sheer horror and demographic depletion. It's designed to create an ever tightening noose of dependency for the survivors. Israel will decide not merely the calorie level accorded the average citizen of Gaza (the "diet" once celebrated by Dov Weissglas), but who will be allowed to eat at all. Once Israel has distributive control of the food supply, so that it can be reserved and targeted in this way, there will be two kinds of Palestinians- those who are permitted to go on existing for a time because they are useful, and those who are immediately assessed as uncooperative or surplus to needs.

That, at least, is the plan. We must ensure that it fails.


With thousands of trucks on the doorstep...and the fact that the Army corps of engineers will not be building it, means that this "port" will be a trojan horse to find hamas, also, to clear out rafah of human beings...absolutely senseless and shocking that Egypt and Jordan dont raise a finger....


I was listening to US vets who are against colonization on their podcast (I would mention the podcast but I don't know if that is OK) and they said there is now a road leading from the location of the port into Israel. My guess is not only are they going to divide Gaza but then have a work-around the Persian Gulf providing the necessary products from the Mediterranean directly to Israel.

One can never underestimate evil.


The last day has sadly shown us all the idea of the pier. The murder of the kitchen martyrs has shown us Israel's hand. Israel intends no further aid to Gaza regardless its origin or its patrons. Biden builds a road to nowhere; it will take months and the IDR will hold the landward end. None of the aid will reach the victims. The warehouses will fill with useless American sops to humanity and not one calorie will find its way into one baby's mouth. By the time the pathetic skeletons stagger into the Sinai it will be far too late for most. Israel will have Gaza and the US will have Trump. Surely Biden has proven to be the most senile of old men.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.