March 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Maritime Humanitarian Corridor Opens for Gaza

March 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Maritime Humanitarian Corridor Opens for Gaza

Latest Developments

A ship carrying humanitarian aid set sail from Cyprus to Gaza on March 12 as the pilot run for a maritime aid corridor. The pilot ship Open Arms and an accompanying vessel departed from the port city of Larnaca in southern Cyprus with 200 tons of food aid. The aid is expected by March 14. Additional seaborne aid shipments through the corridor could ease humanitarian concerns in Gaza by delivering large amounts of food aid to 60 World Central Kitchen locations across the enclave. World Central Kitchen is building a jetty to receive the aid.

The maritime aid corridor is supported by the European Commission, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat said the Jewish state supports the efforts, noting, “The Cypriot initiative will allow the increase of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, after security checks are carried out in accordance with Israeli standards.”

Expert Analysis

“A maritime aid corridor can augment existing and ongoing Israeli efforts that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of tons of humanitarian aid being delivered to Palestinian non-combatants. Hamas does not care about Palestinian civilians. The United States and Israel do. That is the difference. But there are serious security questions associated with the U.S. pier in Gaza that appear unanswered. If those questions are not addressed up front, this could go horribly wrong.” Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“The installation of a ship-to-shore system is a very challenging mission. It will require loading and shipping both a maritime offshore floating pier to receive cargo from Cyprus and a floating maritime causeway to connect to shore. This process will take about two months, doing little to address the emerging famine in Gaza, so airdrops will likely be needed in the near term. Additionally, the United States will need to solve the geopolitical challenges of who provides security for the pier and who takes responsibility for the distribution.” RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery, FDD Senior Fellow and Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology

U.S. Announces Plans for Gaza Pier

During his State of the Union address on March 7, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. military will build its own temporary pier on the coast of Gaza. The mission could facilitate delivery of up to 2 million humanitarian aid meals per day, said the Pentagon on March 8. More than a thousand U.S. forces will construct the pier without placing “boots on the ground” in Gaza, said Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder. It will likely take up to 60 days to deploy the forces and build the pier, he added.

The U.S. Army logistics support ship General Frank S. Besson is sailing to Gaza from Virginia with “the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies,” said U.S. Central Command on March 9. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on March 10 that the pier will “advance the collapse of Hamas’s rule” by aiding Gazans directly.

Israel Continues to Aid Gaza

Israel continues to aid Gaza. The Jewish state has repeatedly emphasized that it is fighting Hamas, not Palestinian civilians. Israel has disputed international complaints about the allegedly low volume of aid reaching the coastal strip. Since October 7, Israel has facilitated the transportation of 16,405 trucks carrying 303,930 tons of humanitarian aid. On March 10 alone, Israel facilitated the transit of 225 trucks equal to 4,920 tons of humanitarian aid.

Biden to Announce U.S.-Built Gaza Aid Pier at State of the Union,” FDD Flash Brief

Stampede, Gunfire Near Gaza Aid Trucks,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Sidesteps UNRWA to Deliver Gaza Aid Via WFP,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Airlift of Gaza Aid Arrives in Egypt,” FDD Flash Brief


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