A collection in the United Arab Emirates for funds to help Gazan civilians in the face of the two week old Israeli offensive raised nearly 86 million dollars in its first day, organisers said on Saturday.
The fund raising campaign, which began on Friday with a telethon, is due to continue until the first week of February, said Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahayan, who is also head of the Emirati Red Crescent.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahayan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum have also each offered to pay for the construction of 600 houses in Gaza to accommodate families left homeless by the Israeli onslaught, officials said.
Gaza solidarity demonstrations were held on Friday in four of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, after the interior ministry granted authorisation, a rarity in the Gulf federation where street protests are generally outlawed.
Demonstrators chanted slogans in support of the Islamist Hamas movement that controls Gaza and at a rally in the emirate of Sharjah an Israeli flag was burned.