The Palestinian Authority confirmed Sunday that Japan will increase funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, which provides aid to over four million Palestinianrefugees living in Occupied Palestinian Territory which is West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The Senior aide to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Shaath, said Japan had pledged to support the Palestinian right to create an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital during the latest talks between the two countries.
International relations advisor Nabil Shaath also confirmed that Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is collecting signatures of Japanese legislators to demand the government recognize Palestinian statehood.
These announcements come amid tensions following last December’s decision by U.S. President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowing to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Shaath told the radio station Voice of Palestine that Japan will recognise Palestine in a gradual process, and is expected to increase the level of Palestinian diplomatic representation in the country from delegation to a representative office.
International relations advisor Nabil Shaath said:
“Japan supports the formation of a new international framework for managing the peace process, breaking free from US monopoly over it.”
He added that Japan is committed to political and economic support of Palestine and has pledged to finance water projects in the Gaza Strip and increasing its financial contribution to UNRWA, in the wake of US funding cuts to the agency.
Japan has also already donated 3.9 million shekels (approximately $1.1m) to the reconstruction of Rafah stadium in southern Gaza, which was destroyed in the war with Israel.
Gaza officials added that Japan will help fund the construction of a wastewater treatment plant, worth 5.46 million shekels (approximately $1.6m), that will help provide clean water for agricultural purposes.
Japan’s move comes weeks after the government of Belgium pledged €19 million ($25 million) to UNRWA over the next three years, in response to the organisation’s call for donations following Trump’s dramatic funding cuts.