The Saudi Arabian government plans to donate some $200 million to Palestinian municipalities in order to help safeguard “the Arab and Islamic character of Palestinian cities against Judaization,” according to a Monday report in Saudi news site Arab News.
Saudi Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Prince Mansour bin Miteb said Sunday that the funds, in addition to supporting Palestinian residents against “Zionist Judaization and settlement attacks,” are to be earmarked for “maintenance, expansion and renovation of water refinement stations and power plants… and to develop sewage refineries and improve hospitals and medical centers,” Ma’an News reported.
The program, which is to be named after Saudi monarch King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, will apply only to cities that are members of the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities and is to be supported by the Islamic Development Bank and UN Habitat, a United Nations program designed to “promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all,” according to its website.
The Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities, according to its website, is an international nonprofit, nongovernment organization based in Mecca that seeks to preserve “the identity and the heritage of Islamic capitals and cities” and increase “the standards of development, services and municipal utilities in member capitals and cities.” The group professes to have “no political activity or involvement and does not interfere in the affairs of any state.”
The official list of member cities includes some 140 municipalities throughout the Muslim world, including what it called the Palestinian cities of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza City, Bethlehem, Jericho, Beitillu (a town near Ramallah), Jenin, Hebron, Halhul (a town near Hebron), Arraba (a town near Jenin), Qalqilya and Nablus. The report didn’t indicate which of those cities were recipients of the funds.