Left: Israeli tanks in Maroun Al Ras, a Lebanese village overlooking the border
(Riyadh) Facing criticism at home, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warned the United States that Israel's miltary actions could result in a wider war if not checked.
"Saudi Arabia warns everybody that if the peace option fails because of Israeli arrogance, there will be no other option but war," he said to state media. "Then, only God would know what wars and conflicts the region would see, which would harm everyone, even those prompted now by their military power to play with fire."
The king announced donations totaling $1.5 billion to Lebanon, according to the royal court statement. $500 million has been targeted for the reconstruction of Lebanese infrastructure, and $1 billion will be deposited in Lebanon's central bank to prop up the sinking economy. Aid totaling to $250 million will be given to the Palestinians to help rebuild the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The military campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, begun 14 days ago, has resulted in the deaths of nearly 400 civilians and billions of dollars worth of damage to roads, power plants, bridges, and airports. Approximately 120 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the concurrent military offensive in the territories of Palestine.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair prior to a planned visit to Washington.
"I think we both agree that the real solution is to have Lebanon come back to its sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said to reporters afterward. "For that to happen there must be a first step, which is a ceasefire to stop the bombing that is happening."
The US continues to balk against any cease-fire deal that does not include the de-arming of Hezbollah and other preconditions, what US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice called an "urgent, but enduring" Middle East ceasefire.