‘Israel is in our hearts against terrorist Hamas’: Deputy Defense Minister

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


By Khaldon Azhari
TOKYO- (PanOrient News) Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama on Wednesday defended Israel and its bombing of Gaza in response to the rockets launched from Gaza. In a tweet, he commented: “Our hearts are with Israel ...against Hamas Terrorists.”
"Israel has the right to protect its people from terrorists," wrote Nakayama, who is also a state minister and a member of the Israel-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association.

Nakayama's tweet literally read: "What would you do? One day, more than 300 rockets are suddenly shot by terrorists within 24 hours, taking the lives of their [Israeli] beloved families and (destroying) their homes. Israel has the right to protect itself from terrorists. Who was the first to shoot rockets at the civilians? Our hearts are with Israel."
In subsequent clarifications, Nakayama told reporters on Wednesday it was his personal views and didn’t represent the position of the Japanese government.
The Japanese government has called on both Israel and Palestine to exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation so that peace negotiations can resume.

Japanese media quoted a high-ranking government official as saying that Nakayama's views were different from the government's position.
Nakayama tried to clarify his remarks in an interview broadcast on the TBS channel: "Hamas is a terrorist organization classified by the United States, and it fired rockets at Israel and attacked civilians ... I've never written that the Palestinians are terrorists. I want you to stop confusing this with that."
“What I said on Twitter is that I want to eliminate these types of terrorism. Israel has the right to protect itself from terrorists, right?…I just wanted to say this firmly. Civilians are being used by Hamas terrorists as human shields. How could news organizations around the world go to Israel and report the moment of rockets landing on a building in Gaza? The Israeli army gave a clear warning that Israel would attack the building in which there were terrorists and bomb it with precision. I believe that every country has the right to protect its people from terrorism. This is what I meant."
Nakayama expressed regret that "the people who are designated on the terrorism list in the United States and by the Japanese Public Security Intelligence Agency are launching the rockets (against Israel)."
In an effort to emphasize his “pro-peace” stance, Nakayama added: "When I was in the Foreign Ministry and Deputy Minister, I wanted to ensure peace in the Middle East. I personally contributed financially to cover some expenses of Palestinian and Israeli youth trainees invited by the Japanese government to our country to cooperate in the peace process.”
Nakayama was invited to participate in the Japan-Arab Day on April 27, which was organized by the Japan Institute for the Middle East in cooperation with the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Tokyo. Informed sources said that Nakayama is close to the Israeli ambassador to Tokyo, Yafa Ben Ari. (PanOrient News)

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