Norway has ordered the Palestinian Authority to return funding provided to the entity for a youth center as part of a joint initiative together with the United Nations and the Women’s Technical Affairs Committee, an NGO in the Palestinian Authority.
— NorwayinIsrael (@NorwayinIsrael) May 26, 2017
Norway didn’t realize when it provided funding for the center that it would be named after Dalal Mughrabi, the terrorist who in 1978 led a group of operatives who hijacked a bus and slaughtered 37 Israelis, including 12 children, in the attack that became known as the Coastal Road Massacre.
The joint cooperation of the Norwegian government with the Palestinian Authority in supporting the Dalal Mughrabi Center is clear in a sign on the building, as shown in news coverage by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news site, and detailed coverage by the Palestinian Media Watch.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said in a statement Friday that the center, located in an Arab village called ‘Burqa,’ had received the funds via the Palestinian Election Commission and UN Women to promote participation of women in the electoral process, and that the Palestinian Authority has been asked to return the money.
Norway’s Ambassador to Israel Jon Hanssen-Bauser has also weighed in with a similar statement.
— Jon Hanssen-Bauer (@JonHanssenBauer) May 26, 2017
The purpose of the center is to “focus especially on the history of the struggle of Martyr Dalal Mughrabi and on presenting it to the youth groups,” according to Ma’an.
Brende said in a statement, “‘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.”
The Norwegian government underlined to the Palestinian Authority that its logo must immediately be removed from the sign on the building and anywhere else it appears in the center. Moreover, Brende said, the funding that was allocated to the center must be repaid.
“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 added.