2003 Statement


H.E. Mr. Koichi Haraguchi

Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East Including the Palestinian Question

14 October 2003

Mr. President,

First, allow me to express my profound sorrow for those who perished, deep condolences to the bereaved families, and heartfelt sympathy to those injured in the suicide bombing in Haifa on 4 September. Terrorism cannot be justified for any reason. Japan reiterates its condemnation of the brutal terrorist attacks that continue to victimize large numbers of innocent people.

The Israeli attack against Syrian territory on 5 October, however, can cause further deterioration of the situation in that region, where the level of tension is already elevated. Japan considers this attack to be absolutely deplorable.

As these incidents illustrate, the situation in the Middle East has worsened, to the great disappointment of the international community. Japan recognizes that the extension of the so-called "separation fences," as approved by the Israeli cabinet, will cut into the "Green Line." This is particularly the case in the area surrounding the Ariel settlement.

These "separation fences," although claimed to be intended to prevent the intrusion of terrorists, not only negatively impact the lives of the Palestinians but also prejudge the final status of the negotiations, as the fence is to be extended inside the "Green Line." Japan, therefore, has called upon the Israeli government to reconsider its fence program. With respect to the latest Israeli decision to extend the fence, which is truly regrettable, Japan strongly requested the Israeli government, on 1 October, the day of the cabinet approval, to refrain from implementing the decision. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to request the Israeli government once again not to implement this decision. Japan will closely watch the Israeli government's actions with regard to this matter.

At the same time, Japan fully expects that the Palestinian Authority will resolutely fight against violence by the extremists and take steadfast measures for that purpose. It is indispensable for the Palestinian Authority to fully recognize that, unless steady efforts are made, it will be difficult to improve the situation. I would also like to emphasize that the lack of resolute measures on the part of the Palestinian Authority against the violence will only provide an additional excuse inside Israel for the continued construction of the "separation fence."

Mr. President,

The Government of Japan is concerned that the efforts for peace based on the "Roadmap," which is now at a critical juncture, has become all the more troubled. Nevertheless, the "Roadmap" still remains the only viable way to achieving peace. I reiterate our earnest hope that, in order to resume the implementation of the "Roadmap," both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides will exercise the maximum self-restraint, refrain from taking measures which will worsen the situation, and make the utmost effort for bringing an end to the violence.