The government of the Kingdom of Belgium has frozen its projects involving schools in the Palestinian Authority, at least until it can determine what happens with those projects after the funds are received and spent.
On Sept. 27, 2017, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education has named at least 31 schools after terrorists.
PMW reported and notified the Belgian government that one of the school buildings funded by Belgium — the Beit Awwa Basic Girls School — subsequently changed its name to the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School to honor the Palestinian Authority female terrorist who led the Coastal Road Massacre bus hijacking and murder of 37 people, including 12 children.
PMW also reported on the danger of naming schools after terrorists, as exemplified with one of the schools named after Dalal Mughrabi, where children are taught to view the terrorist as a role model.
One girl told PA TV that her “life’s ambition is to reach the level of the Martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi.” [Official PA TV, March 27, 2014]
PMW sent this information to the Belgian Embassy in Tel Aviv, including the picture below of the Belgian flag, which still appears on a plaque announcing Belgium’s funding at the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.
According to the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), Belgium has built 23 Palestinian Authority schools since 2001, and was planning to build 10 more in the coming years. (Website of Belgian Development Agency, accessed Oct. 9, 2017) All these plans, however, are now frozen, according to the spokesperson: “Belgium has immediately raised this issue with the Palestinian Authority and is awaiting a formal response… In the meantime Belgium will put on hold any projects related to the construction or equipment of Palestinian schools.”
In response, the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School posted statements regarding the name of the school on its Facebook page, according to The Algemeiner.
One such post read: “Good morning from the Dalal Mughrabi School, from the name that glitters full of love to all of the children of Palestine, to its elderly, to its young, and to all the Martyrs (Shahids) of the homeland. The name Dalal will remain engraved in our hearts and minds.”
[Facebook page of the Dalal Mughrabi Beit Awwa Elementary School, Oct. 4, 2017]
Didier Vanderhasselt, a spokesperson for the Belgian foreign ministry, said in a statement to The Algemeiner, “When the school building was handed over to the local community in 2013 it was called ‘Beit Awwa Basic Girls School,’ [but] subsequently the name was changed to ‘Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School. The Belgian government was unaware of this name change.”
Vanderhasselt added that Belgium “unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks,” and “will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way.”