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Saudi Arabia to Grant $150 Million for East Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia to Grant $150 Million for East Jerusalem

Sunday, 15 April, 2018 - 15:30
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the opening of the 29th Arab summit in Dhahran. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz announced on Sunday a $150 million grant to East Jerusalem.

Unveiled during the opening of the Dhahran-hosted 29th Arab summit, the donation will be dedicated to maintenance of Islamic heritage in the city.

"Saudi Arabia announces a $150-million grant to support the administration of Jerusalem's Islamic property," the monarch during his opening speech at the summit.

"I name this summit in Dhahran the Jerusalem Summit so that the entire world knows Palestine and its people remain at the heart of Arab concerns," he said.

The funding announcement came as the king reiterated criticism of President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shift the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The move has sparked deep anger among the Palestinians -- who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state -- and across the Arab world.

Israel occupied mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

Islamic holy sites in the city -- including the revered Al-Aqsa mosque -- are administered by a Jordanian-run trust known as the Waqf.

King Salman also announced a $50 million donation to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The organization, which provides aid to more than three million people, faces serious financial difficulties after the US announced it was cutting its funding of the body.

In mid-March, UNRWA said it did not have the necessary funds to continue running until the summer.

UNRWA head Pierre Krahenbuhl recently said the agency was seeking $441 million to continue operating, but that donors had only pledged $100 million.

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