“Road Map” was presented by Bush administration just before the Iraq War in March 2003. However, one can say that since then the Middle East Peace has not proceeded at all. Although Israel evacuated from Gaza in summer of 2005, the Israeli settlement have been expanding and the Separation Wall has been build in the West Bank. Palestinian Islamic organization, Hamas became the largest political power in the Palestinian assembly in the beginning of 2006. It still denies the existence of Israel, which is the ideology of Hamas, strengthens the anxiety of Israel and the international community.
The international community including Japan should persuade Hamas to co-exist with Israel. The Middle East peace is indispensable for the stability of the whole Middle Eastern region. Japan has been recognizing the importance of the Middle East peace, paying attention to the living conditions of the Palestinians. After Oslo agreement in 1993, Japan took many measures to improve living and environmental conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. For exmaple, Japan constructed a hospital in Jerico in the West Bank.
This hospital is very much appreciated by many Palestinians. Such endeavor should be continued as Islam respects social welfare and it helps many suffering Muslims. Japanese government is now advocating “the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity,” idea, trying to establish agricultural industry in the West Bank. It is thought to create jobs for Palestinians and Arab people. Japan invited high-level government officials of Israel, Palestine and Jordan to Japan in April of 2007 to discuss the concept. Japan has been trying to promote cooperative relationship and confidence building among Israel, Palestinians and Arab countries.
The Japanese government had consistently insisted: 1. It is definitely necessary to settle the Palestinian issue to realize a comprehensive peace in the Middle East; 2. To realize such a peace, the Japanese government recognizes the PLO as a representative organization of the Palestinians; 3. Japan cannot accept the settlement of the Palestine issue by force. It is quite probable that Japan’s policies concerning the Palestine issue will not change in the future. If Japan modifies its policies to a pro-Israel line and sides with Israeli hard liners such as Likud, it will damage “Arabic or Islamic causes” and clearly worsen relations with the Arab countries. It will influence the energy supply to Japan, which was seen during the First Oil Crisis. In addition, the issue of “illegal occupation” is equated to Japan’s Northern Islands issue. If Japan recognizes the Israeli claim to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, its assertions against Russia will be undercut.
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