Despite concerns by the Palestinian Authority over the much-touted maritime humanitarian corridor, Cyprus’ government aims to plough on with the idea regardless, the Cyprus Mail has learned.

“Whether they want it or not, we will do it. We want to help the people of Gaza,” a government source close to the matter said on Friday.

The development comes after it became apparent Palestine was not involved in any talks held in Cyprus during a US official’s visit over the maritime humanitarian corridor.

It is understood the corridor is unlikely to materialise while the war between Israel and Hamas is being waged but could potentially be used to send aid once the war comes to an end – whenever that will be.

Current concerns range from ensuring a ship with aid can approach Gaza securely, as well as taking measures to prevent Hamas from getting hold of the humanitarian assistance. It also hinges on practicalities, which so far do not look promising.

Why were they kept out?

Dubbed the ‘Amalthia plan’ the corridor is envisioned to ship aid from Larnaca to Gaza by ship. It is touted as an alternative to the Rafah border crossing, as “a ship can carry far more tonnes of aid.”

Though the Republic of Cyprus is in dialogue “with all involved parties” including the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan and Egypt, government sources said they could not comment on the meetings that US officials had in Cyprus.

A US embassy announcement earlier in the day said the National Security Council chief Curtis Ried was on the island recently.

He stressed the US remained committed to working with Israel, the ROC, and other partners, including the United Nations, to address the acute humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza.

There was no mention of Palestine.

The US embassy, asked why the Palestinian officials were excluded from the meeting, told the Cyprus Mail they would respond in the coming days.

Talks in Cyprus

A source close to the matter said the Palestinian Authority had not been made aware of the talks and had no part in them, prompting questions as the matter directly affects the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Earlier this week, Palestine’s Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki met with his Cypriot counterpart Constantinos Kombos during a meeting held on the sidelines of his participation in the European Union foreign ministers’ meeting.

Kombos reiterated the aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza was a ‘viable option’.

“Our intentions are not being questioned,” a government source said.

Post-war plan

Palestine has been vocal about it’s concerns that Israel may instrumentalise the corridor to displace Gazans.

Cyprus’ government has been quick to clarify that it will be a “one-way direction” where the ships will be used to send aid but come back empty.

The failure of the humanitarian corridor was evident in the first – and last – time it was used, when the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Lyme Bay was dispatched from the UK and send 90 tonnes of aid from Cyprus.

Nonetheless, the ship was not allowed to dock for two weeks and ultimately ended up reaching Port Said to then be transported to the Rafah border.

“The security of the ship could not be guaranteed,” a source said. The war operations were not halted to allow the ship to approach Gaza, and as such, the ship was diverted.

British Foreign Secretary recently appeared to have sunk Cyprus’ maritime humanitarian corridor ambitions, after he told the House of Lords “the best way to get aid into Gaza is through trucks.”

He told MPs that supplying aid to Gaza via the beach is “an extremely difficult option”.