Japan has announced renewed aid to the beleaguered Palestinian Authority, hoping to re-build support for President Mahmoud Abbas. Tokyo’s foreign minister Taro Aso met Abbas and pledged some 15 million euros in direct aid to the Palestinian government in the West Bank and humanitarian support for all Palestinians, including those in Hamas-held Gaza.
Aso also met Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni, discussing new business support for Israeli-Palestinian financial ties. There are plans for a joint agro-industrial park in Jericho underwritten by Japan, to boost the Palestinian economy.
After June’s bloody fighting between Palestinian factions, Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed a new administration in the West Bank. He’s now considering an electoral decree requiring all parties to accept the moderate PLO charter and recognise Israel. Hamas refuses, which would in effect ban it from elections.