Support for Palestine a constant in KSA policy

Support for Palestine a constant in KSA policy
Updated 16 May 2016

Support for Palestine a constant in KSA policy

Support for Palestine a constant in KSA policy

JEDDAH: Sunday, May 15, marked the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) — the Palestinians’ dispossession and loss of their homeland.

Observing Nakba Day is important for the Palestinian people. Almost every family has a story to tell about that day in 1948 when so many Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in less troubled lands.
Saudi Arabia has a longstanding record of support for the Palestinian cause. This stance has been one of the entrenched constants of the Kingdom’s policies since the era of the founder King Abdul Aziz. It has been so since the London Conference of 1935, known as the Roundtable Conference which was convened to discuss the Palestinian problem.
The Saudi support for the Palestinian cause has been a fact during the reigns of all seven Saudi kings, all the way down to the present time of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.
From the beginning, the Kingdom supported the Palestinian cause during all its stages as well as on the political, economic, social and military levels. This was due to its duty stemming from its creed and religion, its conscience, and its Arab and Islamic loyalty.
During the reign of King Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinian struggle against the Jewish occupation which continued until its peak in 1948. The first Saudi king was keen to highlight the lawful rights of the Palestinians. He made known his feelings through the exchange of letters with heads of states. These were preceded by the Kingdom’s firm stands, most notably at the London Conference where Saudi Arabia was among the first Arab countries to reject the partition of Palestine by the United Nations in 1947.
The late King Faisal embraced the Palestinian cause from when he was the minister of foreign affairs at the time of the Kingdom’s founding. During his 11-year reign, he focused on finding solutions for the Palestinian problem.
The Kingdom was the first among Arab countries to support the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969. And after the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque, King Faisal called a meeting which resulted in the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It was later renamed as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
This organization played a key role from its headquarters in Jeddah in supporting the Palestinian cause and was the first organization to recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
One of King Faisal’s most significant acts was the halting of oil exports in 1973 to Western countries which supported the Zionist entity.
The support of Saudi kings for the Palestinians and the use of oil as a weapon continued during the reign of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. The King Fahd Plan for Peace was announced at the Arab Summit in the Moroccan city of Fez in 1982.
It was approved by all Arab countries and became the foundation for the Arab Peace Project. It later became the basis for the Madrid Conference in 1991.
The King Fahd Project specified that Israel withdraw from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem, to dismantle Israeli settlements built on Arab land after 1967, to guarantee freedom of worship for all religions in the holy places, to affirm the lawful rights of the Palestinian people and to compensate those who do not wish to return.
The West Bank and Gaza would have a transitional period under the supervision of the United Nation which would see the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, allow all states in the region to live in peace and with the United Nations or member states to guarantee the implementation of these provisions.
Saudi Arabia presented a second initiative for the resolution of the problem; it was known as the King Abdullah Initiative and was announced at the Beirut Summit in 2002.
Saudi Arabia’s support includes financial and moral aid to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority. The Kingdom provided financial aid to the Palestinians at the Al-Khartoum Arab Summit in 1967. At the Baghdad Arab Summit in 1978, the Kingdom announced huge financial aid.
At the emergency Algeria Arab Summit in 1987 the Kingdom allocated monthly financial aid of $6 million to support the Palestinian Intifada. During the first Intifada the Kingdom gave over $3 million to the International Red Cross to buy medications, medical equipment and food for the Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia pledged to finance a development program through the Saudi Development Fund to oversee the health, education and housing sectors in the Palestinian Territories. The program was announced during the conferences of donor countries in the years 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, and in addition exempting Palestinian products and commodities from customs and tariffs.
Saudi support for the Palestinian cause has gone beyond all boundaries with provisions being made for the martyrs whose deaths continue to bear witness to their heroism in fighting the Israeli enemy.