Over $13 million pledged to Palestinians
Arab businessmen pledged Wednesday $13.5 million to Palestinian farmers and workers whose business has been harmed by an Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territories. The amount was announced at a conference of Arab businessmen in Cairo to "support the resistance of the Palestinian workers and cultivators” which was attended by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Arafat told the gathering that "360,000 Palestinian workers have been deprived of work by the Israeli siege on the Palestinian territories" imposed during the current wave of unrest which began nearly two months ago. More than a third of the total came from Saudi Arabia's Prince Walid bin Talal who offered 20 million Saudi riyals (around five million dollars).
The Jordan-based Arab Bank, Palestinian businessman Said Khouri and someone who would not be named each gave two million dollars, while Jordanian businessman of Palestinian origin Kamal al-Shaer offered $1.5 million.
Several Egyptian businessmen, including Orascom chief Naguib Sawiris, also made donations at the gathering organized by the Palestinian Authority in coordination with Egyptian companies. During the conference, Sawiris called on the Arabs to form an effective lobby in the United States "similar to the Jewish lobby" and to set up media enterprises to counter what he called the Jewish-controlled US media.
Egyptian actors like comedian Adel Imam, Nur al-Sherif and actress Yusra made speeches in support of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)