Photo: Reuters
Japan's PM
Photo: Reuters

Japan halts aid to Palestinians

No new aid commitments to PA until Hamas government demonstrates support for peace, Japanese Foreign Ministry official says

Japan will not make any new aid commitments to the Palestinian Authority until the Hamas government demonstrates its support for peace with Israel, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.


Japan, which has provided USD 804 million in aid to the Palestinians since 1993, will continue to honor aid commitments made before Hamas won the January 25 elections, ministry official Akira Chiba said.


The policy, which was not previously announced by the Japanese government, has been in place for months and was not prompted by the suicide attack in Israel on Monday, which killed nine people and was defended by a Hamas official.


"This has been our position ever since Hamas won their elections," Chiba said. "Our hope is that they will resort to peaceful means and come back to the peace process."


Tokyo extended some USD 6 million in food aid to the Palestinians through a United Nations Agency and the World Food Program in March, but that was part of a prior commitment of USD 100 million pledged to the Palestinian Authority in May 2005.


"There are ongoing projects - we're not going to halt them," Chiba said.


Word of Japan's hold on new aid comes as the Palestinian Authority struggles with its finances. Hamas is two weeks late paying March salaries for the government's 140,000 workers.


The United States And European Union cut off aid to the government because Hamas refused their demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.


Israel halted the transfer of tens of millions of tax dollars it collects on the Palestinians' behalf every month until Hamas agrees to denounce violence and terrorism.


Japan joined the condemnation of Monday's blast, calling on the authority to take measures to prevent further attacks and crack down on extremists. Tokyo also urged Israel to respond "with maximum calm."


פרסום ראשון: 04.18.06, 13:37
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