King Abdullah announces donation of $1 billion for Gaza reconstruction

January 19, 2009

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz announced during a speech at an inter-Arab forum in Kuwait today that Saudi Arabia will donate $1 billion for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

 
 

King Abdullah is leading the Saudi delegation to the Arab Economic, Developmental and Social Summit, which began in Kuwait today.

The theme of the two-day summit is "Solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza."

Aside from the crisis in Gaza, the delegates have been discussing strategies for boosting Arab economic and social integration.

Leaders from 22 Arab countries are attending the summit, which was called for by Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah of Kuwait and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt during the 2007 Arab Summit in Riyadh.

During today’s opening session, King Abdullah stressed the importance of aiding Palestinians in Gaza and preventing further violence.

Condemning the "bloody, painful and brutal" attacks on Gaza carried out over the past couple of weeks, the King warned, "Israel must realize that the choice between peace and war will not be available all the time, and that the Arab Initiative on the table today will not be on the table for ever."

Castigating Israel for its policy of collective punishment, the King noted, "The Torah said ‘an eye for an eye’; the Torah did not say ‘an eye for the eyes of a whole town.’"

However, said King Abdullah, "Honesty entails that we say to our brothers in Palestine that their division is more dangerous to their cause than the Israeli aggression."

King Abdullah called for Arab unity. "I plead with you to overcome our wounds and divisions," he said, "and to take up a dignified position which history will not forget and of which our nation will be proud."

In closing, the King announced that Saudi Arabia will donate $1 billion for reconstruction in Gaza.

During the session, speeches were also delivered by Sheikh al-Sabah, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mousa, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Senegalese President Abdullah Wad.

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