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Another PMW success as Belgium freezes funding of PA schools

Itamar Marcus  |
Another PMW success 
as Belgium freezes funding of PA schools  
  • Two weeks ago PMW exposed and notified the Belgium government that a Palestinian school it had funded was renamed after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi
In response to PMW’s report the Belgium Foreign Ministry’s spokesman has now announced:
  • Belgium will put on hold any projects related to the construction or equipment of Palestinian schools”
  • “The Belgian government was unaware of this name change”
  • “Belgium ‘unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks,’ and ‘will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way.’” [The Algemeiner, Oct. 7, 2017]
Itamar Marcus

On Sept. 27, 2017, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education has named at least 31 schools after terrorists. PMW reported and notified the Belgian government that one of those schools whose building Belgium funded, the Beit Awwa Basic Girls School, subsequently changed its name to the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School, honoring the Palestinian female terrorist who led a bus hijacking and murder of 37 people, including 12 children.

PMW also reported on the danger of naming schools after terrorists as exemplified with one of the schools named after Dalal Mughrabi where children are taught to see the terrorist as a role model. One girl told PA TV that her “
life's ambition is to reach the level of the Martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi." [Official PA TV, March 27, 2014]

PMW sent this information to the Belgian embassy in Tel Aviv, including the picture below of the Belgian flag, which still appears on a plaque announcing Belgium’s funding at the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.

Reporting on the Belgian government’s outrage that the PA has renamed the school after the terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi, The Algemeiner quoted the spokesperson for the Belgian Foreign Ministry, Didier Vanderhasselt:

“Belgium unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks [and] will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way.”
[The Algemeiner, Oct. 7, 2017]

According to the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), Belgium has built 23 Palestinian schools since 2001, and was planning to build 10 more in the coming years. [Website of Belgian Development Agency, accessed Oct. 9, 2017] However, according to the spokesperson all these plans are now frozen:

“Belgium has immediately raised this issue with the Palestinian Authority and is awaiting a formal response... In the meantime Belgium will put on hold any projects related to the construction or equipment of Palestinian schools.”

The Algemeiner reported that in response, the Dalal Mughrabi School posted statements regarding the name of the school on its Facebook page. One such post read:

"Good morning from the Dalal Mughrabi School, from the name that glitters full of love to all of the children of Palestine, to its elderly, to its young, and to all the Martyrs (Shahids) of the homeland. The name Dalal will remain engraved in our hearts and minds."
[Facebook page of the Dalal Mughrabi Beit Awwa Elementary School, Oct. 4, 2017]

Another post carried a teacher’s poem, protesting the possible name change:

Posted text: "Following the expropriation of the right and will of the Palestinian people to name its institutions, and following the decision to change the name of the Dalal Mughrabi School to another name, the honorable homeroom teacher Maysoun Al-Sweit wrote a poem that expresses the degree of sadness that affected all of the residents of the region, and especially the educational staff and students of the school ?? Hold on and ask Allah for help."

Text of poem in image:
"We are all Dalal

I swear that the heart is broken
I swear that the eye tears
How can it be that my name will be changed?
While it shines in the heavens
It is part of my life
How will you call me and I hear?
How will I accept this? How will I forget?
How will I agree and submit?
We are in a time of peace
And the drums of war are not being beaten
O Dalal (i.e., Dalal Mughrabi, terrorist who led murder of 37, 12 of them children), forgive us
Even in regards to names they oppress us
Your name remains in my heart
As an olive tree planted in the ground
It is a shining sun
Its light miraculously lights the world
It terrified an undefeated army
And forced the hangman to kneel
Take my body, take my image
And let my name shine

Text: Maysoun Al-Sweiti"
[Facebook page of the Dalal Mughrabi Beit Awwa Elementary School, Oct. 4, 2017]

One post also mentioned that at a meeting where parents were forming the parents’ committee, the issue of a possible name change was discussed, although the post did not mention any details from this discussion:

Posted text: "The second meeting [that was convened] in order to assemble the parents' committee and discuss several topics regarding the school and the town in general. During [the meeting], the matter of changing the school's name was raised."
[Facebook page of the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School, Oct. 6, 2017]

In May this year, PMW reported that a Palestinian youth center funded by Norway, Denmark and the UN was named after the same terrorist Dalal Mughrabi. All the donors immediately condemned naming the center after the terrorist and demanded that their logo be removed from the building and their money be refunded. Recently, it was reported that Norway's money had been returned by the center.

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