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Norwegian Foreign Minister responds to MP's questions about PMW's report on salaries to terrorists

Silje Rognsvåg  |
PMW's new report "The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud" was presented to officials of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and Members of Parliament. The report exposes that the Palestinian Authority continues to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners, contrary to its claim to donor countries to have stopped funding these salaries already in 2014. The report sparked a debate among three Norwegian political parties - all from the coalition - about whether to continue funding the PA. It also led to a debate in parliament with the Foreign Minister.

The following article was translated from Norwegian by PMW:

Headline” [Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge] Brende rebukes hate education”

By Silje Rognsvåg

“The Palestinians
‘It is totally unacceptable to incite to violence or grant the status of hero to people who are violent,’ says [Norwegian] Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
Now Foreign Minister Brende has replied to written questions from MP Jørund Rytman (Progress Party). Rytman is the head of leader of Israel's friends at Parliament.
First he asked if Brende would publicly condemn Antisemitism as is seen in the Palestinian areas and elsewhere, based on the report from Palestinian Media Watch [which shows] that Palestinian education systems teach children to hate Jews.
Brende spoke about hate education saying that it is ‘totally unacceptable to incite to violence or grant the status of hero to people who are violent.’

Concerned about Use of Language
The minister says he is concerned that ‘language which encourages and glorifies violence’ may lead to ‘escalation of the conflict and further polarization between the parties.’ Norway has brought up this concern several times with both parties to the conflict.
Brende points out that religious leaders have a special responsibility to promote openness and tolerance.
‘Harassment and violence against individuals or groups based on religion is unacceptable,’ Brende writes.
He points out that the government in the fall will present a plan of action against Antisemitism.
‘This is a theme that is high on the government agenda.’

Aid Controversy
Asked about salaries to Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror offenses who are imprisoned in Israeli prisons [documented by PMW], Brende emphasizes that Palestinian authorities repeatedly have assured him that Norwegian funds are not going to [the payment of] salaries.
On May 3 [2016], the foreign minister repeated to [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas that the prisoner salary program is unacceptable and that the Palestinian Authority would be [better] served by abolishing the program. Brende promises that he will repeat this in the future as well.
[MP] Rytman is pleased that Brende continues to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to put an end to financing terrorists.
‘It is important that Norway continues its efforts to combat propaganda and disinformation. It will help curb the level of conflict. But I hope and will continue to fight for Norway [to] stop the flow of money [to the PA] if salaries to convicted terrorists do not cease. If dialogue does not work and they [the PA] won’t listen, then we must act,’ says Rytman.
‘Norwegian money to the Palestinians goes to state building and institutional development, which is in everyone’s interest to continue. This is also stressed by the Israeli authorities,’ Brende writes.”

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