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Biden announces US’ direct aid to Gaza, protestors call it ‘publicity stunts’

Biden announces US’ direct aid to Gaza, protestors call it ‘publicity stunts’

The worsening condition of the Gaza Strip amid the Israeli indiscriminate attack on Palestinian civilians, which caused the death of over 30,000 people and left the rest almost in starvation as Israel continued aid blocking, prompted US President Joe Biden to declare that the US military would lead an emergency mission to construct a temporary dock on the Gaza shoreline.

During his State of the Union address on Thursday night, President Joe Biden announced a significant humanitarian initiative aimed at addressing the escalating crisis in Gaza. The purpose of this temporary pier is to facilitate the delivery of large-scale humanitarian aid, including food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters, to the 2.3 million Palestinians living in the devastated region.

Biden acknowledged the dire situation on the ground, emphasizing the destruction of homes, neighbourhoods reduced to rubble, and widespread displacement of Palestinians. The President assured the American people that "no US boots will be on the ground," emphasizing that the temporary pier would enable a significant increase in daily humanitarian assistance to Gaza. However, he also issued a stern warning to Israel, urging its leadership to prioritize humanitarian efforts and not use aid as a bargaining chip.

The decision to open a sea route for aid delivery into Gaza reflects the frustration in Washington over perceived Israeli obstruction of road deliveries. A senior official at the White House expressed the urgency of American leadership in the face of the humanitarian crisis, stating, "We are not waiting on the Israelis. This is a moment for American leadership."

Despite the announcement being welcomed as a step in the right direction by aid experts, some critics argue that it may not be as effective as pressuring Israel to open more land routes for humanitarian assistance. Jeremy Konyndyk, a former senior aid official in the Biden administration, criticized the move, stating, "This just shows the lengths to which President Biden is being forced to go to avoid actually putting meaningful pressure on Netanyahu."

The temporary pier, to be built by US military engineers operating from ships off the coast of the old Gaza City port, will take several weeks to become operational. Aid deliveries will be shipped from the port of Larnaca in Cyprus, which will serve as the main relief hub. The involvement of like-minded countries and humanitarian partners, including the United Arab Emirates, was highlighted as part of the joint effort.

However, as Biden's announcement unfolded, protesters gathered outside the US Capitol with a strong message: "Stop funding Israel" and "Complete ceasefire now." Approximately 150 demonstrators expressed their discontent with the US administration's handling of the Gaza conflict, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. Signs reading "Biden's legacy is genocide" and "End the occupation" adorned Pennsylvania Avenue.

The protesters, representing various organizations advocating for Palestinian rights, criticized the Biden administration for not applying sufficient pressure on Israel and characterized the President's actions as mere "publicity stunts." They argued that the proposed temporary pier solution might be too little, too late, with the United Nations warning of an imminent famine in Gaza and stressing the need for reliable ground deliveries.

Organizer Cat Knarr of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights emphasized the personal connection many protesters felt to the Palestinian cause. "As a Palestinian person, a granddaughter of a man who survived the Nakba, these are my people, and I have no choice but to wake up every single day and think about what they are living through," she declared.

The protests also underscored a growing discontent among voters, as demonstrated by recent elections in several states where thousands cast "uncommitted" votes in protest. Organizers like Jennifer Falcon highlighted the voters' shift, indicating that the Democrats might be losing their moral standing and facing increased dissatisfaction.

Palestinian American human rights lawyer Huwaida Arraf, addressing the protesters, argued that the State of the Union was, in reality, a state of genocide. As Biden's motorcade navigated Pennsylvania Avenue, protesters stood firm in their demands for justice, challenging the administration's approach to the Gaza crisis and its unwavering support for Israel. The President's proposed humanitarian initiative, while garnering some support, continues to face scrutiny and scepticism from those who believe that more robust action is needed to address the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza.

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TAGS:HamasJoe BidenUS PresidentFree PalestineIsrael Palestine Conflict
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