Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Japan offers to mediate between Palestinians and Israelis

By Patty Diphusa - July 19, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Peace Process]


Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono expressed in interview with Arab News his country’s interest in playing a part as an “honest broker” between Palestine and Israel.

Palestinian authorities have welcomed this proposal and expressed their enthusiasm. 

According to Arab News, secretary of the executive committee of the PLO Saeb Erakat stated that Japan has “shown a tremendous commitment” to peace and the two-state solution and that “they have invested in the development of institutions in Palestine and have kept a position against Israeli settlements”. 

Political Affairs advisor of the Palestinian Foreign Ministry Ahmad Deek stated “we welcome the suggestion made by the foreign minister because we believe that any movement is helpful.”

The offer made by Japan follows the country’s recent decisions supporting the Palestinian struggle and its longing for peace. Japan, together with Palestine, co-hosted the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) that was held in Ramallah and Jericho on 3 - 4 July.

Palestinian News and Info Agency WAFA reported that in the framework of the conference Japanese Ambassador to Palestine Takeshi Okubo stated that Japan is “committed to continuing to provide development support to Palestine” and reiterated his country’s position “standing by the Palestinian people until the establishment of their independent state in accordance with international resolutions”. 

The offer by Japan to act as a broker between Palestine and Israel comes in a time when confidence behind the US as a legitimate mediator is at its lowest. 

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas stated in an official visit to Austria in February 2019 that “the US is no longer qualified alone to act as a mediator because of its bias in favour of Israel and because of its decisions regarding Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and settlements”. 

Moreover, the so-called “Deal of the Century” sponsored by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser has been widely rejected by Palestinian leadership as it is seen as the liquidation of the Palestinian cause: no right for return for refugees, no Jerusalem as a capital and no sovereign state.

The possibility of Japan playing a role in mediation fits the proposal for peace presented at the security council in February 2019 by PA president Mahmoud Abbas in which he called for a “new multilateral mechanism” to guide the peace process, thus ending the US monopoly in this regard.




Lead image: Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono

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