H. E. MR. YUKIO SATOH
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on "Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Rest of the Occupied Territories"
7 May 2002
I thank you, Mr. President.
It is very regrettable indeed that the fact-finding team which was to be dispatched in order to develop accurate information about the events in the Jenin refugee camp had to be disbanded because the Government of Israel objected to receiving it. On the other hand, the fact that Chairman Arafat, the elected leader of the Palestinian people, regained his freedom thanks to the combination of persuasion by the governments of the United States and the other countries concerned as well as the United Nations, and the efforts made by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, and the fact that the confrontation in Bethlehem is said to be close to resolution for the same reason are very encouraging factors.
Nevertheless, the situation in the Middle East continues to be in crisis, and it is an urgently required task for the international community to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence and retaliation which has been repeated since the fall of 2000, and to resume a political process which will make it possible for two states, Israel and Palestine, to coexist peacefully within secure and recognized boundaries.
The Government of Japan has consistently supported the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent state, and the right of the Israeli people to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. Moreover, for the purpose of restarting the political process between the two parties, the Government of Japan has repeatedly called upon Israel to withdraw immediately from the Palestinian-controlled territories, and upon the Palestinian side to strengthen the necessary measures to stop terrorist actions.
Furthermore, the Government of Japan considers that in order to put smoothly back on track the political process for ensuring peaceful co-existence of the Israelis and the Palestinians, it is important to pursue efforts in several areas necessary to ensure lasting peace in the Middle East in a way that involves the international community and concurrently. The proposal regarding a multi-layered process which the Japanese Foreign Minister, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, recently announced from this point of view advocates pursuing, in particular, the following three efforts simultaneously:
- Firstly, with a view to ensuring steady progress in the political process, to hold an international conference, which would guarantee a cease-fire agreement internationally and also affirm the goals of the peace process internationally, especially the goal of attaining the independence of a Palestinian state;
- Secondly, in order to assist efforts toward the restoration of peace, to strengthen cooperation by the international community for the stability and prosperity of the Middle East, and, as a means for that purpose, to resume the multilateral consultations to promote cooperation projects in this region; and,
- Lastly, to build a broad relationship of trust between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The Government of Japan is prepared to play an active role in each of these three efforts. In this context, the Government of Japan supports the idea of holding an international conference as presented by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell, following the "Quartet" meeting in Washington D.C. on 2 May, and is prepared to actively participate in the discussions to prepare this conference.
In addition, for the purpose of confidence-building between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Government of Japan is prepared to host a forum where a broad range of interested individuals from both sides, not limited to government officials, will discuss the way for the Israelis and the Palestinians to coexist peacefully and the vision of a future Palestinian state.
Another important task which the international community must urgently tackle under the present situation is the alleviation of the extremely difficult humanitarian emergency the Palestinians are facing. To this end, the Government of Japan has recently decided to extend approximately US$ 3.3 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Also, in response to the emergency appeal of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Japanese government intends to extend assistance in the medical and health field amounting to approximately US$ 1.2 million. Moreover, we are studying the possibility of extending additional humanitarian assistance.
The support and cooperation of the international community is important for the resolution of the Middle East problem and, in particular, experiences to date show that the active role played by the Government of the United States is an essential catalyst for the peace in the Middle East. The Government of Japan, for its part, is also determined to make every possible effort to achieve our common goals.
However, what is most important is for the parties to this conflict to exert necessary self-restraint and take required political decisions. With this recognition, I would like to conclude my statement by once again calling upon the leaders of the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to make every possible effort to resume their dialogue.
Thank you, Mr. President.