‘Paused’ – World Food Programme Halts Aid Distribution from Gaza Pier 

US President Joe Biden. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“That’s why we need to stop this so that we can get in at scale with our aid … We can’t continue this in a way, because what almost happened in the north with famine could happen in the south.”

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended humanitarian aid distribution from the US-built pier in central Gaza, the organization’s executive director has announced, citing concerns for staff safety.

“Right now we’re paused because I’m concerned about the safety of our people after the incidents yesterday,” Cindy McCain told CBS in an interview on Sunday.

“Two of our warehouses, warehouse complex were rocketed yesterday,” she said. “So we’ve stepped back just for the moment to make sure that we’re on safe terms and on safe ground before we’ll restart.”

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McCain said one staff member was injured, adding that a ceasefire “was necessary.”

“That’s why we need to stop this so that we can get in at scale with our aid and other aid from other organizations as well. We can’t continue this in a way, because what almost happened in the north with famine could happen in the south.”

‘UN Security Assessment’

On Monday, the WFP in the Middle East and North Africa said on X: “Temporarily pausing operations at floating dock for a UN security assessment to ensure staff & partners’ safety.”

“Across Gaza, we continue to deliver food parcels, hot meals & support bakeries access permitting.”

More than 270 Palestinians were killed and scores injured in a raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Saturday. Four captives were rescued during the operation in which “89 homes and residential buildings” were bombed, according to Gaza’s Government Media Office.

Centcom Denial

Completed in mid-May, the pier was operational for only a week before storm damage rendered it inactive for a couple of weeks, reported the Al-Mayadeen news agency. It resumed operations on Saturday before McCain announced the pause.

Saturday’s pier reopening, which coincided with the Nuseirat massacre, prompted the US Central Command (CENTCOM) to issue a statement saying the pier facility “including its equipment, personnel, and assets were not used in the operation” to rescue captives.

It said an “area south of the facility was used by the Israelis” to return the captives to Israel.

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On Saturday, the American news website Axios, citing a US official said that “the U.S. hostage cell in Israel supported the effort” to rescue the captives.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also said in a statement on Saturday “The United States is supporting all efforts to secure the release of hostages still held by Hamas, including American citizens.”

He said, “This includes through ongoing negotiations or other means.”

Staggering Death Toll

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,124 Palestinians have been killed, and 84,712 wounded. Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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