Thursday October 11 5:01 PM ET
New York Mayor Rejects Saudi Prince's Donation
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Thursday rejected a Saudi prince's $10 million donation for victims of the World Trade Center after the prince criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal toured the site of the Sept. 11 destruction with the mayor, offered to donate $10 million and said, ``The government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.''
``Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek,'' said the Saudi billionaire in a statement released by the mayor's office.
The prince, one of the world's richest men, is chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. and not a member of the Saudi government.
When Giuliani heard the prince's statements, he turned down the donation, said mayoral spokeswoman Sunny Mindel.
``We are not accepting this check -- period,'' she said, adding that the check was never cashed.
At a news conference, Giuliani said, ``Not only are those statements wrong, they are part of the problem.''
``There is no moral equivalent to this attack. There is no justification for it,'' the mayor said. ``The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered four or five thousand innocent people, and to suggest that there is any justification for it only invites this happening in the future.''
``One of the reasons I think this happened is because they were engaged in moral equivalency in not understanding the difference between liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel, and terrorist states and those who condone terrorists,'' he said.
The prince also said he condemned terrorism, and he expressed his condolences for the more than 5,000 people killed when hijacked jets slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania.