By Andy Sambidge
UPDATE 1: UAE, Bahrain donations pour in while thousands also protest.
TV fundraising campaigns in the UAE and Bahrain have raised a total of $90 million to help the Palestinian people in Gaza strip.
The nationwide fundraisers, aired through all TV and radio stations on Friday, saw $86 milllion raised in the UAE and $4 million in Bahrain, while solidarity marches also took place simultaneously in four of the emirates.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and Head of the Office of Coordination of Foreign Aid, thanked UAE residents for their generosity, saying that the donations received had exceeded expectations, news agency WAM reported.
Sheikh Hamdan said the RCA, in association with the humanitarian relief and charity organisations in the UAE, would coordinate with international aid organisations to ensure the aid bought by donations would be distributed as soon as possible.
The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai pledged to rebuild 1,200 homes in Gaza, while Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of the Interior, pledged to rebuild 100 houses.
The NMC Hospital also gave 1.4 million dirhams of medical equipment as part of the fundraising initiative.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Minister of Presidential Affairs, also pledged to build an extension to al Shafaa Hospital in Gaza while the Western Region donated 150,000 dirhams and 110 grammes of gold.
In Bahrain, the main contributors were Bahrain National Committee for the Support of Palestinians in Gaza chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and leading businessman YBA Kanoo, who donated 100,000 dinars ($265,000) each. BBK donated $300,000 while NBB, Batelco, Alba and Bapco contributed 100,000 dinars each.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 men, woman and children turned out in four emirates to make sure the people of Palestine were not forgotten.
In Sharjah, an estimated 5,000 gathered along Khaled Lagoon draped in Palestinian flags and wearing traditional black and white scarves, or kaffiyeh.
In Abu Dhabi, about 4,000 demonstrated along the Corniche Road while in Dubai, supporters gathered in Creek Park, waving flags and placards.
Hundreds donned the kaffiyeh in Ras al Khaimah to demonstrate outside Manar Mall.
On behalf of all Palestinians, I wish to thank UAE, its rulers, business men, citizens & residents from all nationalities who contributed to this campaign, this really make us feel proud of you brothers and sisters, you exceeded expectations, god be with us during this difficult time. I wish to thank Bahrainis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Libyans, Algerians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians and every Arabs nationals from all over the world, we rely on you all to support us knowing we all are one nation and we have a common issue, I hope we can do even better in the future to brothers in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia and every Arab land that is facing tyrannical acts and injustice wars.
If money could have solved all problems there would not have been any troubles in Islamic countries as they are amongst the richest in the world. Money is the root cause of most evils. Wars are mainly fought over money, land and lady. However, the ones resisting oppression to save their religions are far better than the majority of the ones who are just donating as a normal routine (towards cleaning up their souls) without any concrete action, pain and planning. Without emphasising on security, brotherhood, education, infrastructure, making an army, taking a common stand, having a platform, having value, having voice, using oil as weapon, using sovereign wealth funds as carrot and stick etc. Again the enemy will destroy again we make, but where are the souls who lived in it earlier? Can we bring them back? Can we give the new homes the security, the peace, no blockades?
Whilst it is pleasing to see the people pledging support to the Plaestinian people,what i belive is required is the voice of the middle eastern countries and in particular the voices of its rulers to be heard throughout the world that what is happening is unacceptable and unless the west deals a fair and just hand to the Palestinians then economic boycott will take place.The West is in a credit crunch and needs the middle east to bail it out