The temporary jetty constructed to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza from Cyprus will be “permanently removed” within the next few days, according to reports which surfaced on Wednesday.

The reports cited unnamed United States officials, who allegedly said the jetty will be reinstalled in Gaza and be used for “several days”, before the next steps will be to “pull out permanently”.

The officials reportedly said the aim of reattaching the jetty is to clear the aid which remains in Cyprus and at sea off the coast of Gaza, depositing it in the secure area on the beach.

After this task has been completed, US forces will reportedly “dismantle the pier and depart”.

Pentagon press secretary Major General Pat Ryder was not questioned by journalists about any permanent removal of the jetty on Wednesday morning, but did say that US Central Command “intends to tentatively re-anchor it this week”.

Should the reports turn out to be true, this will be the final chapter in the story of a jetty which has faced a litany of setbacks and problems since it was first installed in May.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has for almost a month suspended its operations related to the jetty following an Israeli military operation in the area which reportedly killed over 200 Palestinians.

WFP executive director Cindy McCain had said at the time that two of the WFP’s warehouses nearby had been “rocketed” by Israeli forces, and that she was “concerned about the safety of our people”.

Spokeswoman Abeer Etefa was clear on Monday that the WFP’s stance had not changed in the intervening three weeks, explaining to the Cyprus Mail that the organisation had engaged in an “exceptional one-off operation” in the last few days to remove the remaining aid from the secure area and into Gaza proper.

“The supplies were cleared from the beach and there is nothing new coming in. It was all cleared out, and has now gone for distribution,” she said.

She added that the WFP’s position on the jetty was that “if more supplies come in [via the jetty], we will not pick them up.”

The safety of those working on transporting humanitarian aid into Gaza via the jetty has only been one of the problems faced, with the jetty itself being out of action more often than not.

In total, it has only been usable for a total of 12 days since first being put into place on May 17 – 54 days ago.

The jetty is inoperable in rough seas, which, according to British newspaper The Guardian, includes any conditions where waves are larger than 1.25 metres in height.

It had broken apart in May during high winds, with four US army vessels which were holding it in place being washed up on a beach near Ashkelon, an Israeli town located between the port of Ashdod and Gaza.

It was taken to Ashdod for repairs before being reattached in early June, but was then removed on two further occasions as officials feared that conditions would lead to it breaking apart again.

The jetty cost the US government approximately $230 million (€213m) according to their latest estimate, a figure which was lower than had been originally calculated but was higher than some US lawmakers would have liked.

Two separate amendments were filed to the country’s annual defence policy bill having been filed with the aim of defunding it. Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina described the jetty as a “logistical nightmare” with “costs far outweighing any potential benefits”.

“From a purely cost-based analysis, investing in a jetty off the coast of Gaza is an inefficient use of our defence budget … Our taxpayer dollars should be dedicated to projects which directly enhance our national security,” she said.

The bill is still making its way through the US’ legislature, though if reports are to believed, the jetty’s place inside or outside the budget is now academic.

While concerns were raised in the US, a total of 20 humanitarian agencies described the jetty’s creation as a “cosmetic change”.

With the jetty now seemingly dead in the water, attention in Cyprus and abroad may now turn to alternative ways to transport humanitarian aid into Gaza.

United Nations senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag said last week that discussions are ongoing regarding the potential “implementation and long-term planning” of Cyprus’ maritime humanitarian aid corridor, known as the Amalthea plan.

The US government was as early as May looking for a “different way” to get aid from Cyprus to Gaza.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at the time that the US Agency for International Development and its partners are now trying to figure out “faster, efficient ways to get the aid that’s already in Cyprus into Gaza”.

With the backlogged aid now set to be removed from Cyprus and transported to Gaza via the jetty before the jetty’s potential permanent removal, Cyprus’ role going forward, and the future of the Amalthea plan, remains to be seen.

The Cyprus Mail reached out to the Cypriot government for comment but received no response.