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Japan Pledges $200 Million in Aid to Palestine

Fumio Kishida (US State Dep't)

Fumio Kishida (US State Dep’t)

Japan has pledged more than $200 million in aid to help Palestine’s government as 22 nations affirmed their commitment to supporting Palestinians’ bid for an independent state.

The Associated Press reports Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced Tokyo’s intentions on Saturday at the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD II) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Cabinet ministers and other high-ranking officials from 22 nations and five international organizations attended the one-day conference. The Jakarta Post reports the 10 member nations of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa were represented. Delegates from the United States, European Union, India and Australia also attended as observers.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he hopes “universal recognition of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state and as a full member of the United Nations” would eventually occur.

“We can make this happen if we redouble our effort to support them (Palestinians) in nation and state building,” asserted Yudhoyono.

Kishida announced the first installment of Japanese aid, around $62 million, was expected to be transferred later this month. CEAPAD was launched under a Japanese initiative to work toward peace and the “two state solution,” in which Israel and an independent Palestine peacefully exist as neighbors.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who was also in attendance, said the meeting restored his hopes for a better future for his nation, the vast majority of which is suffering under a half century-long Israeli occupation that most international law experts agree is illegal.

“We still believe in hope, and we count on your assistance, you are our genuine partners, we count on your assistance for providing more political support in the international arena,” said Hamdallah.

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted 138-9 to recognize Palestinian statehood, infuriating Israel its main benefactor, the United States. The measure was largely symbolic, as Palestine enjoys no real sovereignty under Israeli occupation and economic control.

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