Saudi Arabia pledges $ 1 billion to rebuild Gaza

The Saudi king said his country will donate $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after the devastating Israeli offensive and told Israel that an Arab initiative offering peace will not remain on the table forever.

The initiative, which was first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and relaunched in March 2007, offers Israel collective Arab recognition in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from territory it occupied in the 1967 war, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution for the problem of Palestinian refugees.

The Arab world has struggled to come up with a unified response to the Gaza crisis — with strong Hamas supporters like Iran and Syria facing off against U.S. allies like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah criticized the Israelis for using excessive force in Gaza, saying the Jewish holy book called for "an eye for an eye and did not say an eye for the eyes of a whole city."

The king said his country's $1 billion donation for Gaza would go to a proposed fund Arabs are setting up to rebuild the seaside territory. But it remains to be seen whether Arab expressions of sympathy for the citizens of Gaza translate into actual funds to rebuild the city. Arabs have often criticized Israel for the plight of Palestinians, but pledges of financial support have not always materialized.

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