Food Aid for Palestine
March 18, 2005
- The Government of Japan has decided to extend food aid of a total of 650 million yen for Palestinian refugees and other Palestinian population through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
- For Palestinian refugees, the Government of Japan has decided on providing food aid (wheat flour and pulses) of 500 million yen through UNRWA. Notes to this effect were exchanged on March 18 (Friday) at the UNRWA Headquarters between Mr. Koichi Obata, Japanese Ambassador to Jordan, and Mr. Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of UNRWA. For non-refugee Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Japan decided to extend through WFP food aid of 150 million yen. Notes to this effect were exchanged on March 18 (Fri) in Rome between Ms. Nobuko Matsubara, Japanese Ambassador to Italy, and Ms. Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director of WFP.
- The employment situation and poverty have worsened throughout the Palestinian territories as the chain of violence continued between the Israel and Palestinian sides since September 2000, when the clash broke out in the Palestinian territories. In the meantime, a historic opportunity for the Middle East peace process is emerging as seen in the direct talks held on February 8, 2005, between Mr. Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, who heads a coalition government, and Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, who was elected in the presidential election on January 9, 2005. In view of above-mentioned circumstances, Japan has decided to extend the food aid from a viewpoint of supporting the peace process by alleviating the harsh condition of the Palestinians.
- UNRWA plans to distribute wheat flour and pulses purchased with this food aid to the Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan; and WFP plans to provide wheat flour to the other vulnerables in the Palestinian territories such as orphans, elderly people, undernourished children and physically weak persons.
- It is hoped that the assistance will improve the food shortage of the Palestinians and thus to contribute to advancing the Middle East peace process.
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