Riyadh, According to UN data, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the world's leading supporters of global humanitarian aid and development. The Kingdom's support of Palestine is one example of the strong stand it has taken to provide impartial humanitarian assistance to crisis-affected people in countries around the world.
For decades, the people of Palestine have received ongoing and extensive support from the Kingdom. Between 2000 and 2018, the Kingdom has provided Palestine with aid and development support in excess of USD $ 6 billion (USD $6,051,227,493). Among the Kingdom's partners in delivering its assistance in Palestine have been various UN agencies, the Saudi National Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People, and national and international NGOs.
For the past three years, most of the Kingdom's international humanitarian aid programs and initiatives in Palestine and elsewhere have been carried out by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief). In a recent press statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Advisor-Royal Court and Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), stated that the Kingdom has provided aid to the Palestinian people in three major assistance categories: development (USD $4,531,487,015), humanitarian (USD $1,002,298,330), and philanthropic (USD $17,330,878). An additional USD $200,000,000 was also pledged by the Kingdom - USD $50 million of this amount to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and USD $150 million to support the Palestinian Waqf Program in Jerusalem.
Dr. Al Rabeeah further pointed out that the most important development assistance provided by the Kingdom was for the USD $263.17 million program to construct and renovate housing units in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, including Ain Al Hilweh camp and Nahr Al Bared camp.
The Kingdom funded a USD $107 million housing project in Rafah (Phase I), implemented through UNRWA, for the construction of an integrated residential city, including 752 housing units for 4,564 people, four schools, a health center, a cultural center, a mall, a mosque, paved roads, street lights and water supply facilities. Phase II of the same Rafah project included 765 housing units for 4,761 people, two schools, a mosque, and electricity and water supply infrastructure. Two additional projects to provide water and electricity networks and roads were also undertaken at the Ain Al Hilweh and Nahr Al Bared camps for a total cost of USD $258.4 million.
According to Dr. Al Rabeeah, the Kingdom has also undertaken the following additional programs, projects and initiatives in Palestine between 2011 and 2018:
A project to furnish and equip more than 17 medical centers and support a number of Palestinian hospitals with medical equipment and medications, and another to provide an ambulance and medications for use by at the Al-Aqsa Mosque clinic (total cost: USD $58 million.)
A project to develop, expand and equip more than 61 primary and intermediate schools in different parts of Palestine (total cost: USD $125.46 million).
Eight food security projects implemented through the World Food Programme (WFP) (total cost: USD $17.9 million).
A project to support Palestinian families (including widows, orphans, and the wounded) was implemented with the Islamic Development Bank (total cost: USD $250 million).
Support for the Jerusalem Fund (USD $285 million.)
With UNRWA, constructing shelters and rehabilitating infrastructure (USD $30 million).
Support for the Palestinian government (USD $43.9 million).
Joint project with the Palestine Red Crescent Society to provide medical and nutritional services (USD $53.3 million).
Funding of philanthropic aid to Palestine (USD $17.3 million); projects included the payment of the full cost for 3,177 Palestinian religious pilgrims to visit Saudi Arabia (USD $15,330 million), and a project to provide Palestinians with fresh meat (USD $2 million).
The Kingdom also provided USD $300,111,270 through the Saudi National Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People. USD $100,534,320 of this amount covered the costs for 79 projects in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Palestinian refugee camps. These projects included:
Distributing food baskets and loaves of bread
Canning and distributing fresh meat
Providing flour, milk, and child-related necessities
Distributing clothing, blankets, and bedding
Providing fuel to Gaza Strip camps
The Kingdom has provided (USD $52,970,191) to help specific groups of Palestinians in need, including:
Families who have lost their primary breadwinners
Families whose homes or farms have been destroyed
Families whose relatives are detainees in Israeli prisons
Families whose members have been wounded, are disabled, or have special needs
Families who are poor
Programs to provide employment for Palestinian workers
The Kingdom has also provided USD $58,946,536 for health care and medical sector aid, including:
Providing treatment for Palestinians in Saudi Arabia's hospitals
Supporting the Palestine Red Crescent with 132 fully-equipped ambulances
Providing measles and mumps vaccinations
Providing medicines, medical supplies, and dialysis equipment for hospitals belonging to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
In the education sector, the Kingdom provided USD $40,252,592 for projects in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for the following programs:
Support for 11 Palestinian universities
Payment of student fees
Scholarships for 159 students to obtain higher-education degrees (Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D.) in Arab-region, European and American universities
Establishment of 12 libraries at Palestinian universities
Distribution of school kits for teachers and students
Construction of a computer center for community development
Vocational training center for women in Hebron
Establishing and equipping eight women's centers
Construction projects for the West Bank and Gaza Strip were funded by the Kingdom in the amount of USD $41,745,844, and included the following:
Construction of an oncology center in the Gaza Strip
Renovation of 2,345 housing units in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Construction of 500 integrated housing units with infrastructure in the Gaza Strip
Construction of 100 new housing units in the West Bank city of Hebron
The budget for infrastructure projects was USD $5,662,103, and included the rehabilitation of the water system and electrical grid system in Nablus, and the construction of desalination plants in the Gaza Strip.
All of these projects, Dr. Al Rabeeah clarified, were provided either directly by the Kingdom, or in collaboration with KSrelief's partners, including such international organizations and UN agencies as UNRWA, WFP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and UNESCO.
The Supervisor General paid tribute to the Kingdom's leaders for their keen interest in providing comprehensive assistance to the people of Palestine, and reemphasized the Kingdom's commitment to supporting the universal humanitarian principles of compassion and cooperation between nations and peoples with the goal of alleviating the suffering of all in need.
Source: Saudi Press Agency