Home World News State Of The Union: Port For Gaza Aid, More Weapons For Israel

State Of The Union: Port For Gaza Aid, More Weapons For Israel

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce the building of a port by US engineers for Gaza aid during his State of the Union address late Thursday.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivering the 2023 State of the Union Address
U.S. President Joe Biden delivering the 2023 State of the Union Address.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce plans to build a temporary port in Gaza to facilitate aid in his State of the Union address late Thursday.

“Tonight, the president will announce in his State of the Union address that he has directed the US military to undertake an emergency mission to establish a port in Gaza, working in partnership with like minded countries and humanitarian partners,” an official said. “This port, the main feature of which is a temporary pier, will provide the capacity for hundreds of additional truckloads of assistance each day. We are not waiting on the Israelis. This is a moment for American leadership.”

Under attack by his own party for failing to open Gaza to humanitarian aid, President Biden is also expected to announce the opening of a new land crossing into the devastated coastal strip now under attack by Israel.

The announcement comes on the same day that The Washington Post revealed that “The United States has quietly approved and delivered more than 100 separate foreign military sales to Israel since the Gaza war began Oct. 7, amounting to thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms and other lethal aid.

“The triple-digit figure, which has not been previously reported, is the latest indication of Washington’s extensive involvement in the polarizing five-month conflict even as top U.S. officials and lawmakers increasingly express deep reservations about Israel’s military tactics in a campaign that has killed more than 30,000 people, according to Gaza’s health authorities,” the Post said.

The proposed port in Gaza will be built by military engineers working from ships, and the aid deliveries will be shipped from the port of Larnaca in Cyprus, where Israeli officials could inspect the consignments before despatch, officials said.

“The concept that’s been planned involves the presence of US military personnel on military vessels offshore but does not require US military personnel to go ashore to instal the pier or causeway facility that will allow the transportation and humanitarian assistance ashore,” a senior official said.

“We will coordinate with the Israelis on the security requirements on land and work with the UN and humanitarian NGOs on the distribution of assistance within Gaza. Initial shipments will come via Cyprus enabled by the US military and a coalition of partners and allies. This new significant capability will take a number of weeks to plan and execute. The forces that will be required to complete this mission there are either already in the region or will begin to move there soon,” an official said.

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Meanwhile, reports said that Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska and Yulia Navalnaya, wife of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, have declined President Biden’s invitation to attend his State of the Union address, which is expected to focus on the US economy, business tax hikes, middle class tax cuts and lower deficits.

While Olena Zelenska cited prior engagements, Yulia Navalnaya said she needed time to grieve the death of her husband in an arctic prison on February 16. However, some reports suggested that the White House plans to seat them next to US First Lady Jill Biden “caused discomfort for some Ukrainians due to Navalny’s statements regarding Crimea.”

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In a career spanning over three decades and counting, I’ve been the Foreign Editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and The New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com.

My work has featured in national and international publications like the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Global Times and The Asahi Shimbun. My one constant over all these years, however, has been the attempt to understand rising India’s place in the world.

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