Belgium has announced that it has “enhanced” the diplomatic status of the PLO representation in Brussels. Formerly only granting diplomatic status to the head of mission, Belgium has now granted this to an additional PLO representative. [The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2018] In addition, the foreign ministers of the PA and Belgium have announced that they are expanding an existing agreement to include, among other things, “support for Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem.” [English edition, Wafa, official PA news agency, Nov. 7, 2018]

However, these gifts to the PA contradict Belgium’s policy statements.

Belgium recently condemned the PA and stopped all collaboration with the PA Ministry of Education after Palestinian Media Watch exposed that the Palestinian Authority was determined to continue naming schools after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi.

At best, this is poor administration by Belgium; at worst, it is willful blindness.

Belgium was outraged at the PA last year when PMW documented that the PA had used Belgium’s financial support for the PA’s education sector to build a school it later named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi. Following PMW’s exposure of the school, Belgium condemned the actions by the PA and “put on hold any projects related to the construction or equipment of Palestinian schools”.

However, the PA ignored Belgium’s demands and the school continued to be named after the terrorist. When Belgium reiterated its disapproval of the name, the PA renamed the school Belgium had funded but mocked Belgium by simultaneously naming to two other schools Belgium hasn’t funded after the same terrorist!

“BRUSSELS, Wednesday, November 07, 2018 (WAFA) – Belgium has decided to upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinian representative office in Brussels, according to a joint statement issued on Wednesday.

So now Belgium is sending contradictory messages to the PA. It publicly slaps the PA with one hand and cuts off cooperation in the education sector, but caresses it with the other, and upgrades its diplomatic status in Brussels – specifically adding support for Palestinian schools.

These actions will certainly be interpreted by the PA as approval and undermine Belgium’s stated position condemning the PA’s practice of naming schools after terrorists. Could it be that Belgium’s administration is so poor that one hand does not know what the other is doing? Or did Belgium announce the freeze in funding solely for the purpose of being perceived publicly as not partnering with PA terror glorification?

Whatever its motivation, Belgium’s inconsistent behavior leaves the PA Ministry of Education happily naming its schools after terrorists while Belgium is still supporting the same terror glorifying PA Ministry of Education.

The following is the report on the joint Belgian-Palestinian statement which specifically mentions Belgian support to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem: (emphasis added)

This was announced following a meeting between Foreign Minister Riyad Malki and his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders and Minister of Cooperation and Development Alexander De Croo in Brussels.
The two sides signed a joint declaration following their ministerial dialogue in which they affirmed their desire to develop bilateral relations in several fields, stressed their intention to consolidate the cooperation agreement signed between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Palestine Liberation Organization on 12 November 2001 on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and expand it to include support for Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem as well as development projects in the Palestinian territories, especially in areas C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military control, and the Gaza Strip.
The two sides also decided to elevate the level of Palestinian diplomatic representation in Belgium and provide support and training to Palestinian diplomats.
On the political front, the two sides affirmed their commitment to work towards a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict leading to the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state on all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem.
Belgium also expressed its strong rejection of all Israeli settlement policies and measures in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, which undermine the two-state solution and expressed its strong rejection of the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar village and the displacement of its inhabitants.
M.K.” [English edition, Wafa, official PA news agency, Nov. 7, 2018]