Two top IDF officers were in Japan last week to seek financial support for humanitarian projects to help Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
The visit by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun and the head of COGAT’s Civil Department, Col. Sharon Biton, comes as the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations are struggling to make up for the loss of over $500 million of United States contributions.
“They met with Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono and talked about ways to promote stability in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. They emphasized projects in the industry, hi-tech and medical sectors,” a COGAT spokesperson said.
Kono thanked the two men for the IDF’s cooperative work with Japan and promised that his country “would continue to aid in the advancement of stability in the Middle East to the best of its abilities,” COGAT said.
Abu Rukun and Biton also met with Kentaro Sonoura, a special adviser to Japan’s prime minister.
In addition, Abu Rukun met with Mr. Junichi Yamada, senior vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“The two discussed civilian projects to advance the economy in the Gaza Strip, as well as ways to improve the fabric of daily life in Judea and Samaria – first among them the industrial area that was constructed adjacent to the city of Jericho, and is expected to provide employment opportunities for residents of the area,” the COGAT spokesperson said.
Through the JICA, the Japanese government has invested $60m. in projects for Palestinians in the West Bank, including on sanitation and recycling. This includes in the Palestinian city of Jenin, where Japan is working on upgrading and expanding the city’s water supply system.
Japan’s flagship project is the Jericho Agro Industrial Park, which has 14 factories and a 15th under construction. Tokyo has also contribution $8m. to the construction of a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip.
In February, Japan gave the PA a grant of $15.93m. for the collection and transport of solid waste.
During the same month, Japan donated $23m. to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, including in the West Bank, Gaza, east Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.