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Japan pledges $100m to rebuild Gaza

During a visit to the region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $100 million for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

In a joint press conference with the Palestinians Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Abe announced the Japanese pledge to help reconstruct the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed during a 51-day Israeli war last summer.

The Israeli war left more than 2,260 Palestinians dead and around 11,000 others wounded. It also caused the partial or complete destruction of more than 100,000 houses.

Abe said: “We are concerned about the deteriorating situation between the two sides since the last year. I exchanged views with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas and found they are real friends.”

Abbas thanked Japan for its role in enhancing peace opportunities in the Middle East. “Palestinians will never forget Japan’s support for Palestine, which started when it aided Palestinian refugees and continued after the Oslo Accords,” he said.

The Palestinian president said he had updated the Japanese premier on the latest political developments and the plan by Arab foreign ministers to garner political support for a new UN draft resolution calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

In addition, Abbas reiterated that there is no choice but to resolve the conflict through peaceful means and negotiations based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the UN resolutions.

“We tell our neighbours [Israelis] that our hands are extended for peace and they have to choose between peace or settlement expansion,” he said. “Peace cannot be achieved by collective punishment, apartheid measures or the detention of thousands of Palestinians.”

Abe said that he hoped Palestine and Israel would be able to live in peace and that his country would continue to support peace based on a two-state solution.

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