Thursday, December 21, 2023


The laudatory proposal, put forth by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, to create a Maritime Humanitarian Corridor to supply the beleaguered civilian population of Gaza with food, water and the other items necessary for life, which is fully supported by the Government of the State of israel, could be the answer to the present humanitarian crisis, as well as a potential long-term solution. Certainly, something must be done, as Israel, in the aftermath of the barbaric conduct of Hamas' invasion, has advised that in the future it will not be sending gods and supplies into Gaza, for any purpose. breaking a;; commercial contact.

The Minister's recent Press Release spells out Cyprus' stated intent on the subject:

"Cyprus’ maritime corridor plan provides for a compact logistical hub. For the safe provision of a sustained flow of high-volume humanitarian assistance to the civilians in Gaza, through a dedicated one-way maritime corridor. For the now, for the medium-term, and for the long-term.

We are standing here in the Coordination Centre «Zenon» in Larnaca, which forms part of the integral facilities for Amalthea’s operationalization, which is based on the provision of a compact, trusted secure logistical hub.

Today, we had the opportunity to be briefed on the current operations and the level of preparations.  We have just visited the facilities here at the Coordination Centre and we will proceed to visit the facilities at the Larnaca port.

The aim is for humanitarian assistance for civilians in the Gaza Strip to be collected, stored, secured, and rigorously inspected before loading on a vessel – all here in Cyprus and, needless to say, the purpose is to complement and scale-up current routes."

While we certainly applaud the proposal, the Law of Unintended Consequences could possibly rear its ugly head. In plain English, how will Cyprus deal with what is obvious; that Hamas will use the pipeline for humanitarian aid to funnel not only cash, but items which will support its war effort, especially arms, ammunition and explosives, into Gaza, cleverly concealed and disguised within relief supplies?

Given the ingenious methods previously seen in smuggling bulk cash into Gaza, one must expect that there will be a constant flow of contraband, hidden within the supplies, including but not limited to money. Although Cypriot law enforcement, in conjunction with the anticipated Israeli inspectors, will be tasked with checking all shipments, the sheer expected volume will be a daunting task, and it can never be 100% effective.

As the result, some of the money and military supplies for Hamas will get through. Therefore, it will be up to Cyprus to interdict these terrorist-bound funds as they come into the country, which means a major increase in monitoring inbound commerce, in all its forms, whether that be visitors, international trade, and all other incoming traffic. whether Cyprus has the manpower, or national will, to conduct such inspections, is an open question, and it may result in the cancellation of the Maritime Humanitarian Corridor forthwith. 

We certainly hope that this proposed project can become a reality, to assist the people of Gaza, who are in desperate need of an aid pipeline, but it must be accompanied by a foolproof method of deterring terrorist financing of Hamas by a new route through Cyprus.

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