I would have much preferred no Elders, and actually just the regular Republic secretly building the giant force to rescue their people.
Fiddle the plot however necessary to not have all out war immediately follow, but I think it would be much more Minmatar to have Maleatu Shakor starving half the republic to secretly fund a giant 'fuck you' fleet for fifty years to shit on one of the Amarr home systems and rescue millions of Matari.
And it actually would have been much, much better for Amarr RP if there were no deus ex machina. If they got beaten, and they got beaten badly in one single ambush fight, (not a long war the Republic would certainly lose) and the Matari make it out with their people and somehow CONCORD stops a war from breaking out after. I think much better for Amarr PF character growth as a race to be caught flat-footed resting on their laurels and the Matari actually never forgetting, constantly plotting for decades to strike back and get their people out.
Let it play out afterwards that the Amarr get all 'reclaimy' and wake the sleeping giant to crush the republic and then the republic has to reap what they've sown, but I think the Amarr home fleet being caught off guard in a surprise dreadnaught flotilla for a few hours to rescue all those Matari without Jamyl win sauce would have been worth it.