UN, Norway withdraw support for Palestinian women’s center named after terrorist

Palestinians hold posters showing Dalal Mughrabi, A palastinian militant involved in a 1978 attack in which 35 Israelis were killed, July 16, 2008. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Taking a stand against the glorification of terrorism and incitement to violence, both the United Nations organization and the country of Norway announced this week that they have withdrawn their support from a new Palestinian Authority (PA) women’s center that was named after a major terrorist.

Norway had donated funds for a new women’s youth center that was set up in the West Bank Palestinian town of Burka. The UN had also supported this venture and the UN women’s logo was placed on the building.

However, the funds and support were pulled after learning the PA had named the new center the Dalal Mugrabi Women’s Youth Center.

Mughrabi was the only woman on a team of Fatah terrorists who hijacked a bus and killed 37 Israelis, including 13 children, on March 11, 1978. This attack, referred to as the Coastal Road Massacre, was the deadliest attack by the Palestinians upon Israel.

The establishing of centers for Palestinian women and youth may be a powerful means by which to help them and their community grow and flourish. However, the purpose of this center was only, according to Palestinian press to “focus on the history of the struggle of Martyr Dalal Mughrabi and on presenting it to youth groups.”

Given that the Coastal Road Massacre was apparently orchestrated to take place just before the signing of the Camp David peace talks between Israel’s Menachim Begin and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat on March 26, 1978, the choice of this particular terrorist’s name for a women’s center in 2017 is all the more perplexing and distressing.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) was instrumental in alerting the Norwegian government to the naming of the center. Having informed Norway of the situation, the ICEJ reportedly stated it’s satisfaction with that country’s “swift and clear” response.

“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,” Norway’s Foreign Minister, Borge Brende, told reporters on Friday.

The UN was no less firm in its condemnation of the choice of name for the center. A statement from the office of Secretary General Antonio Guterres read: “The United Nations disassociated itself from the Center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future.”

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances. The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace,” the UN statement continued.