NBC News and news services
updated 7/25/2006 8:16:43 AM ET 2006-07-25T12:16:43

Saudi King Abdullah appealed to the world Tuesday to stop Israeli attacks on Lebanon, saying that if peace moves fail, the Middle East could be engulfed in war.

In a statement read out on state television, the king said: "if the option of peace fails as a result of Israeli arrogance, then the only option remaining will be war, and God alone knows what the region would witness in a conflict that would spare no one."

The king has decreed donations totalling $1.5 billion to Lebanon, said the royal court statement. The king has assigned $500 million for the reconstruction of Lebanon, and $1 billion to be deposited in Lebanon's central bank to support the economy.

NBC's Kerry Sanders reported from Beirut that $1 billion has already been deposited in the Lebanese Central Bank. Governor Riad Salameh said the infusion will help concerns over the stability of the local currency, the lira.

Rebuke for Hezbollah
The king said that the Saudi government had been trying to bring a halt to the violence since it began on July 12, when Hezbollah guerrillas snatched two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid from Lebanon.

"It must be said that patience can't last forever, and if the brutal Israeli military continues to kill and destroy, no one can foresee what may happen," the king said.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait have rebuked Hezbollah for the fighting in Lebanon, where more than 390 people have been killed in the past 14 days and another 600,000 Lebanese displaced. More than 40 Israelis have been killed, many in Hezbollah rockets attacks on northern Israel.

The king's talking of "Israeli arrogance" will find broad appeal in the Arab street, where many people have accused their governments of doing nothing to stop the assault on Lebanon.

NBC's Kerry Sanders in Beirut and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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