Palestinians claim Japan supports recognizing ‘Palestine’

Will Japan recognize a Palestinian “state” and risk a diplomatic crisis with Israel?

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Japan is preparing to recognize the state of Palestine, a senior Palestinian official claims.

Nabil Shaath, advisor to Palestinian Authority head (PA) Mahmoud Abbas for external affairs and international relations, affirmed that Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono is collecting signatures from Japanese parliamentarians to demand that the government recognize Palestine.

He told the Voice of Palestine radio on Sunday that Japan will recognize Palestine gradually, and is expected to raise the level of Palestinian diplomatic representation in the country from delegation to a representative office.

“Japan supports the formation of a new international framework for managing the peace process, breaking free from US monopoly over it,” Shaath stated.

Since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, the Palestinians have repeatedly declared that the US can no longer serve as a broker in the diplomatic process with Israel, and have been seeking a mediator more amenable to their positions.

Japan was among 128 countries that voted in favor of a resolution denouncing the US decision on Jerusalem at a UN General Assembly session in December.

Shaath said that Japan is “committed to political and financial support of Palestine” and has renewed its commitment towards financing water projects in the Gaza Strip and increasing its financial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), to cover the deficit after the US slashed its funding to the agency.

Many member states of the United Nations states have recognized the state of Palestine on varying diplomatic levels.

Israel and other countries, including the US, do not recognize Palestine, taking the position that the establishment of a Palestinian state can only be achieved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.