I find it disturbing that Mr. Richard Cohen (“It's Not That Simple, Bandar”, April 9, 2002; Page A19) is disseminating a clear falsehood regarding Saudi financial assistance to Palestinian victims of Israel’s brutal occupation. Mr. Cohen's claim that Saudi Arabia is encouraging suicide attacks in Israel by rewarding them is not only false, but insulting. Saudi Arabia does not pay suicide bombers. Saudi Arabia condemns the killing of innocent civilians regardless of their nationality.
By grotesquely claiming that parents are willing to sacrifice their children for $5,333, Mr. Cohen cheapens Palestinian life, attempts to dehumanize the victims of Israeli occupation, and implies that the attacks are motivated by money, and not the direct result of the 35-year-old brutal occupation. It also tries to deflect from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its rejection of the latest Arab peace initiative calling for a just and comprehensive peace.
The Kingdom is committed to helping Palestinians. As a direct consequence of the Israeli occupation with its suffocating closure of Palestinians towns and villages, and the continuing military incursions, and the killing and jailing of innocent Palestinians, half of the Palestinians today live under the poverty line. Many can’t find jobs. Medical facilities are lacking equipment and medicine. As of today, than 1,600 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops, leaving many families without breadwinners.
The Saudi government offers assistance to the families of those killed, and these, the victims of the violence, are often referred to as martyrs. Nevertheless, the Saudi government does not condone the act of killing oneself and killing others by means of suicide bombings, and Saudi religious leaders have condemned the taking of innocent lives.