Saudi Arabia Raises $40m for 'Palestinian Heroes'
A fund-raising campaign launched in Saudi Arabia for the "Palestinian heroes" has already taken in nearly 40 million dollars, not including donations in kind, state television said Wednesday.
"Saudi Arabians and Arab expatriates have responded in great numbers to the call of King Fahd" who ordered the campaign for "donations for the heroes of the Intifada in Palestine", the television said.
The campaign, which was broadcast live throughout the oil-rich kingdom and is to continue over the coming days, raised almost 150 million riyals (40 million dollars) from mid-afternoon Tuesday to Wednesday morning, it said.
Donations in kind, which included bags of jewelry, villas, agricultural land, deluxe cars and even a flock of 180 sheep, will be sold by the fund on behalf of the Palestinians.
One Saudi donated some binoculars to "help stone throwers to detect their enemy shooters", another his "personal machine gun".
Other donations included blood or a month's salary, while some businesses sent checks or gave away shares.
Poorer citizens had to settle with donating a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, or simply offering a "prayer for the soul of the Palestinian martyrs".
Religious leaders appeared on television to urge inhabitants in the kingdom to "help their brothers" to the backdrop of pictures of the "heroic struggle of the young Palestinian stone throwers".
"Donations can help cure the sick", said one, causing many sick people to descend on the television station, some in wheelchairs, to make a donation.
On Monday, King Fahd announced that he was was donating 10.7 million dollars to the families of those Palestinians killed in nearly two weeks of violence in Israel, Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz has donated 2.7 million dollars to the Palestinian "heroes", while Saudi businessman Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, a nephew of the king, said he was donating 2.4 million dollars.
All of these donations from the royal family are from their own private funds.
The Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh, Mustafa Hashem Dib, welcomed Wednesday warnings by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz two days earlier that the kingdom would respond if Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak makes good on pledges to hold Syria and Lebanon responsible if border violence persists - RIYADH (AFP)
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