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Belgium suspends aid to PA education ministry for naming schools after terrorists

The Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation has announced that “the glorification of terrorism or perpetrators of terrorist acts is not acceptable under any circumstances.”

Palestinians hold posters showing Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist involved in an infamous 1978 attack in which 35 Israelis were killed. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash 90.
Palestinians hold posters showing Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist involved in an infamous 1978 attack in which 35 Israelis were killed. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash 90.

In response to a report that the Palestinian Authority had named two schools after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, Belgium has severed all financial support to the P.A. Ministry of Education. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) exposed that Belgium had forced the P.A. to rename a school funded by the Belgian government due to it being named after a terrorist, but on the very same day, the P.A. had named two other schools in the same neighborhood after the same terrorist.

In response to the P.A.’s mockery of Belgium, the Belgium Ministry of Development Cooperation has cancelled all funding of P.A. schools until no schools are named after terrorists, not only those funded by Belgium.

Earlier this month, the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation announced that:

“Belgium regrets the naming of the two other schools, which were not built with Belgian funds. The glorification of terrorism or perpetrators of terrorist acts is not acceptable under any circumstances. Our country has repeatedly conveyed the Belgian position to the Palestinian Ministry of Education. As long as terrorism is glorified through school names, Belgium cannot continue to cooperate with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and budgets for school building will be suspended.”

In September 2017, Palestinian Media Watch published a special report exposing that the P.A. Ministry of Education systematically name schools after terrorists and has named at least 32 schools after terrorists and three after Nazi collaborators. Some 41 school names glorify “Martyrs” and “Martyrdom.”

PMW also reported that one of the schools named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who led the murder of 37 civilians, was built using money from the Belgium government. Initially the school was named “The Beit Awaa School,” and subsequently was renamed the “Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School” without the Belgium donors being notified.

The government of Belgium immediately condemned the use of its funding for the purpose of glorifying terrorists, and demanded that the name of the school it had funded be changed.

Almost a year later, in July 2018, PMW found and exposed that despite Belgium’s complaints, the school was still named after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi. PMW’s report led to further pressure from Belgium, and the P.A. finally changed the name of the school last month to “The Belgian School.”

However, in a show of contempt for Belgium, the P.A. simultaneously renamed a nearby school after the same terrorist, giving it the name “The Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.” In addition, it publicly laid the foundation for another school named “The Second Dalal Mughrabi Republic School.”

Belgium has since responded with a full cancellation of all funding of P.A. schools until no schools are named after terrorists, not only those funded by Belgium.

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