President Nikos Christodoulides hailed a “mission resumed” in the Amalthea plan on Saturday following the setting sail of the aid ship the Jennifer for Gaza on Friday night.

Speaking at an event organised by Dipa, he said humanitarian needs in Gaza are “constantly increasing”, and that Cyprus’ humanitarian aid corridor had resumed operations “in collaboration with the countries with which we started this operation; the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the European Union.”

He also said he expects work to be completed on the jetty being constructed by the USA off the coast of Gaza “within the next week”, adding that he believes the jetty’s completion “will help us to further strengthen the humanitarian aid mission.”

The Amalthea plan’s resumption comes as United Nations experts demanded a safe passage for the Freedom flotilla coalition, a planned shipment of humanitarian aid by sea from Turkey.

The experts, who are affiliated with the UN’s high commissioner for human rights’ office, said the shipment will be carrying 5,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international humanitarian observers from Turkey to Gaza.

They said that aboard the flotilla will be “a diverse coalition of human rights activists, including lawyers, doctors, nurses, journalists, parliamentarians, and politicians,” and that it aims to “deliver lifesaving aid directly to the besieged people of Gaza.”

This, they said, will “directly challenge Israel’s control over the entry of humanitarian assistance.”

“The Freedom flotilla has the right of free passage in international waters and Israel must not interfere with its freedom of navigation, long recognised under international law.

“As the Freedom flotilla approaches Palestinian territorial waters off Gaza, it is essential for Israel to adhere to international law,” they said.

They added that they are “especially concerned for the safety of the participants of the Freedom flotilla in light of Israel’s repeated targeted attacks against UN and civilian humanitarian missions.”

Israel should remember that the world is closely watching and refrain from any hostility against the participants of the flotilla,” they said.

The aid is being gathered by Turkish humanitarian relief organisation IHH. The latest available reports suggest that a total of three ships, the Anadolu, the Conscience, and the Akdeniz. IHH as an organisation is banned in Israel.

In response, a group of 20 US congressmen penned a letter to the country’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to “protect” the distribution of humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus.

The congressmen expressed “concerns about deteriorating Israeli-Turkish relations and reports that a Turkish coalition is allegedly planning to launch a flotilla to Gaza.”

“While we strongly support humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, we are gravely worried that such a hastily organised and unvetted effort could further flame regional tensions, disrupt existing aid delivery mechanisms, [and] exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” they said.

They went on to say that the ongoing construction of a jetty off Gaza “and the ongoing Cyprus-led Amalthea humanitarian corridor demonstrate effective international cooperation.

“These measures are designed to ensure that duly vetted aid reaches Palestinian civilians without benefitting Hamas.”

They said they are deeply concerned by the reported planned shipment from Turkey, which they say “plans to breach the established security perimeter [off Gaza] with an unknown number of ships to deliver aid.”

They also claimed IHH has “previously raised funds for Hamas”, and said “it intends to bypass established aid channels and refuse to allow Israeli inspection of their cargo.”

This, they said, “casts doubt on the nature of the mission.”

“We strongly urge you to engage directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government to prevent or delay the flotilla’s departure,” they added.