Norway acts on PMW report, demands Palestinian youth center return money
Norway acts on PMW report,
demands Palestinian youth center return money
Within hours after PMW reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money was named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi, Norway condemned it and demanded their money be returned
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
On Friday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money and with the involvement of the PA's Ministry of Local Government had been named the "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center" after the terrorist who led the murder of 37 in a bus hijacking. The very same day, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the center and demanded that the Norwegian money be returned:
"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 have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid."
[Norwegian Foreign Ministry website, May 26, 2017]
The Foreign Minister added that before Norway funds new projects, new procedures must be in place to prevent this from happening again:
"'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,' said [Foreign Minister] Mr Brende."
The UN also dissociated itself from the center, rejecting the choice of name as "wrong and unacceptable":
UN Assistant Secretary General for Development and Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine, Robert Piper: "The United Nations support for this center ended last year. The inauguration of the center took place a few weeks ago, well after the UN association with it concluded. The name chosen by the community center is wrong and unacceptable. The UN Women logo should not be associated with it and it will be removed immediately."
[Robert Piper on Twitter, May 26, 2017]
UN Women: "UN Women supported the rehabilitation of a community building in Burqa last year but has had no role in the naming or any other activity related to the Centre since the completion of the project was at the end of 2016.
The UN Women logo in the recent inauguration event was used without any prior authorization from the UN. UN Women is asking the community Centre, with immediate effect, to withdraw the UN Women logo from all public material, and not to use its logo for any events or activities."
[UN Women website, May 26, 2017]
These swift actions are indicative of the international community's responsiveness to PMW's exposure of the many examples of PA misuse of foreign funding. In March, the German Olympic Sports Federation canceled a funding agreement worth €400,000 with the Palestinian Football Association, in response to PMW’s report exposing that Jibril Rajoub, the president of the Palestinian Football Association, was an active promoter of terror.
In response to PMW exposing that the PA pays salaries to terrorist prisoners and families of so-called Martyrs, the United States Congress is considering the proposed Taylor Force Act, which would cut off all funding to the PA if it continues rewarding terror. The Israeli Parliament is likewise considering the proposal to deduct from tax money that Israel collects for the PA, the amount that it pays to prisoners and families of terrorist Martyrs.
In general there has been a drop of 70% in funding to the PA (hundreds of millions of dollars) since PMW first exposed in 2011 that the PA pays salaries to terrorists. The PA itself attributes this in part to the international campaign led by PMW criticizing the PA's payments of salaries to terrorists:
"PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara announced that the foreign aid to the PA coffers has decreased by about 70% in the last five years."
[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 8, 2016]
"There is a drop in support and funding from all [countries]... the pressures exerted on the decision makers in these countries by supporters of Israel and lobbies with various names. For example, they tell them: Why are you providing aid to those who are paying the prisoners and the Martyrs' (Shahids') families?"
[Rawhi Fattouh, Fatah Central Committee member
and Fatah Commissioner of International Relations;
Falestinona, the website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon, April 5, 2017]
The following is the full official statement by the Norwegian Foreign Minister condemning the Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center:
"Unacceptable glorification of terrorist attacks
"A Palestinian women's centre in the village of Burqa on the West Bank has recently been named after Dalal Mughrabi. Dalal Mughrabi took part in a terrorist attack in Israel in 1978 that killed 37 civilians, including many children. The centre has received funding from Norway via the Palestinian Election Commission and UN Women to promote the participation of women in elections.
'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,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
It was not until after Norway had stopped providing funding for the centre that it became known that it was to be named after the Palestinian terrorist. This happened in connection with the opening of the centre last week. Neither the Norwegian authorities nor the UN were consulted in advance or invited to the opening ceremony. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted immediately when it became aware of the matter today.
'We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to 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,' said Mr Brende."
[Norwegian Foreign Ministry website, May 26, 2017]