Japan Pledges $200 Million in Aid for Palestinians

Representatives from 22 nations gather in Jakarta for conference aimed at boosting Palestinian development.

Japan has pledged more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, as representatives from 22 nations reiterated their support of the Palestinians' quest for their own state.

The pledge was announced Saturday at the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development, held in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the first disbursement of the aid — about $62 million — was expected later this month.

Ministers and high-ranking officials from 22 countries and five international organizations participated in the one-day conference, which was jointly chaired by Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority and Japan.

The conference is aimed at renewing continuous commitment to support the Palestinian Authority so it is able to provide essential services to the Palestinian people.

During the conference's opening, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine can still be realized, and commended the recent peace efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Hamdallad was quoted by AFP as saying that during the current round of negotiations "all issues actually have been [put] on the table,” yet cautioned against Israel's settlement policy: "Sixty-two percent of all our land is still controlled by the Israeli authorities," he said. "This impedes any access we have to natural resources, and severely restricts our development."