Norway’s foreign minister on Friday condemned the Palestinian Authority for naming a women’s center in the West Bank, funded in part by the Scandinavian country, after a female terrorist.
“The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said in a statement.
Brende’s comments were made in reference to a new women’s center opened earlier this month in the West Bank town of Burqa. The center was named after Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70.
Brende said that Norway had been unaware of the decision to name the center after Mughrabi. He demanded that the country’s name be removed from the center and that the funds it gave for construction be returned.
“We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the center to be repaid,” he said.
He also said that Norway would no longer participate in similar projects until the country receives assurances “that nothing of this nature happens again.”
“We will not enter into any new agreements with either the Palestinian Election Commission or UN Women in Palestinian areas until satisfactory procedures are in place to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again,” he said.
Israel commended Oslo’s action, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon saying “Norway took the right step — a tough line against memorializing terrorists is an integral part of the international effort to eliminate terror. We recommend that the international community take thorough steps to check where the money it invests in the PA is going.”
Norway’s rebuke of the PA came after the Norwegian branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem brought the matter to the country’s attention on Friday, the organization said in a statement, while thanking Brende for his “swift and clear” response.
“The Palestinian Authority undermines the quest for peace in this region, and violates all standards of human decency, when it decides to glorify and perpetuate the despicable legacies of terrorists like Dalal Mughrabi,” ICEJ President Jürgen Bühler said. “The Norwegian government acted properly when it condemned this immoral action by the Palestinian Authority.”
Palestinian Media Watch, which first brought attention to the naming of the women’s center, quoted a local village leader saying that “the center will focus especially on the history of the struggle of Martyr Dalal Mughrabi and on presenting it to the youth groups, and…constitutes the beginning of the launch of enrichment activities regarding the history of the Palestinian struggle.”
In addition to the women’s center, the PA has named a number of events and facilities in honor of Mughrabi and the other terrorists who died during the massacre in a firefight with Israeli security forces, with Fatah repeatedly hailing them as “martyrs.”
In March, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA named a youth camp in Jericho after Mughrabi.
Last year on the anniversary of the attack, a Ramallah-area Al-Awael school for girls held the “Dalal Mughrabi Cup” in honor of the killer. The girls’ basketball tournament was also co-organized by the Al-Razi Cultural and Social Association, a Palestinian NGO that works with the Anna Lindh Foundation to promote “intercultural dialogue” and “build trust and improve mutual understanding.”
Mughrabi was also honored by Fatah in March two years ago when the party, addressing Israelis on its Facebook page, told them to collect the body parts of murdered Israelis and leave Israel.
“On this day, March 11, in 1978, Dalal Mughrabi and her companions declared the birth of the Palestinian Republic in the heart of the occupied territories. The enemy admitted the death of 30 Zionists in the operation, yet according to the reports the number exceeded 80 casualties… Retaliation after retaliation and the windstorms will not subside,” the Facebook post read.