The Saudis: $4 Billion to the Palestinians (1998-2003)
by Steven Stalinsky
Saudi Government Committees to Support Palestinians: For decades the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel, through the creation of two major committees, The Popular Committee for Assisting Palestinian Mujahideen and The Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and The A1-Aqsa Fund have to date given over 15 billion Saudi Riyals (4 billion $U.S.) and reportedly pledged Palestinians up to 1 billion dollars to finance the continuation of the Intifada, which is also commonly referred to by Saudi officials as "Jihad" and "resistance".
The Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen: Headed by Prince Salman Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh, the Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen was established after the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. In February 1994, King Fahd Ibn Abd Al-Aziz issued an updated directive to Prince Salman to support the Palestinians with a national campaign drive in the Kingdom. The committee is responsible for "assisting the freedom fighters of Palestine," and "extending assistance to members of the families of the martyrs." The committee has donated at least 298,784,151 Saudi Riyals (SR).
The Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and the Al-Aqsa Fund: The Arab summit held in Cairo in October 2000 adopted the recommendation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish two funds: one to be called "The Fund of the Al-Quds Intifada," with a capital of $200 million, for the families of the Palestinian martyrs killed during the Intifada, and the other to be called "The Al-Aqsa Fund," with a capital of $800 million, for the purpose of financing projects to help preserve the Arab and Islamic characteristics of Jerusalem, and to enable the Palestinians to liberate themselves, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abd Al-Aziz said that Saudi Arabia would pay one-quarter of the $1 billion capital for the two funds, while King Fahd Ibn Abd Al-Aziz would undertake the support of 1,000 Palestinian families of martyrs.
A directive by governors of all regions in Saudi Arabia to initiate campaigns for every citizen to donate to the Al-Quds Intifada Fund was also implemented. Prince Nayef bin Abd Al-Aziz, Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, is the chairman of "The Saudi Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada" and the "Al-Aqsa Fund," which has transferred over 15,442,105,150 Saudi Riyals (SR) to the Palestinians including money to the martyrs fund. This is in addition to Prince Nayef's separate support committee, which has donated 20,000 Saudi Riyals (SR) ($5,333 U.S.) to each martyr's family.
Saudi Banks, Account 98, and the Palestinian Authority Treasury: Saudi funds which originate in the Jeddah based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) reach the Palestinian Authority Treasury Department via Account 98 of the Saudi Development Fund (SDF). All funds for Prince Salman Ibn Abd Al-Aziz's Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen go directly to the PLO, while Prince Nayef's funds from the Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and Al-Aqsa Fund go to the Palestinian Authority. According to official Saudi sources, leading members of the Saudi royal family, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Abdullah Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General Prince Sultan Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, Minister of Interior Prince Nayef Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, Minister of State and Cabinet member Prince Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Fahd Ibn Ahd Al-Aziz, have worked directly with leading Palestinian officials Yasser Arafat as well as Nabil Shaath to ensure the funds were both sent and received.
This report, based entirely on official Saudi government sources, details the Saudi government support to the Popular Committee for Assisting the Mujahideen and the Saudi Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada and The Al-Aqsa Fund between 1993-2003.
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