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Belgium and PA officials to meet in response to PMW report

Itamar Marcus  |
Palestinian and Belgian officials to meet on Wednesday
following PMW exposure that 
PA named Belgian-funded school after terrorist
which led Belgium to freeze funding of PA school construction
  • Belgium froze aid for PA school construction following PMW's exposure of the PA's renaming of a school built with Belgian money after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi
  • Meeting between Belgian and PA officials is this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, according to official PA daily
  • PMW spoke with the Embassy of Belgium and urged that Belgium take this opportunity to create a more peace promoting environment in PA education. Belgium can use its leverage as donor to demand the PA change the names, not only of the Dalal Mughrabi School Belgium helped build, but also of the other 4 schools named after the same terrorist - and preferably all the 31 schools PMW has documented the PA has named after terrorists
  • PA Ministry of Education expressed "great sorrow" over Belgium's freeze of its support to school construction
  • PA ministry noted that the reason Belgium suspended its support was over the naming of the school after Dalal Mughrabi but did not distance itself from the name or its policy of honoring terrorists. The PA also did not mention anything about the other schools named after terrorists or any plans to rename them
Itamar Marcus 

Following Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the PA's renaming of a school built with Belgian money after a terrorist murderer, and Belgium's subsequent suspension of its aid to building additional schools, the PA Ministry of Education "expressed great sorrow" over the money freeze, and invited the Belgian Consul General for a meeting "to discuss this matter." The meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday according to the official PA daily.
PMW notified the Belgian government that the PA had changed the name of the Beit Awwa Basic Girls School, which was originally funded by Belgium. The school is now called the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School in honor of terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi who led the most lethal attack in Israel's history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37, among them 12 children, in 1978.
In anticipation of the announced meeting, PMW spoke to the Belgian embassy and urged Belgium to use its leverage as a donor to the PA to demand the PA change the names of all 31 PA schools that honor Palestinian terrorists as well as the names of the three schools that honor Nazi collaborators. PMW's report documented that the PA has named five schools after terrorist Salah Khalaf, who planned the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, and four schools after terrorist Abu Jihad, who the Palestinian Authority credits with responsibility for killing 125 Israelis. It has also named a school after Hitler's ally Haj Amin Al-Husseini.
Following PMW's exposure last month, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Development Cooperation announced the temporary freeze of funding of additional PA schools, and condemned the PA practice of naming schools after terrorists:
  • Belgium "unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks," and "will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way." 
  • "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"
[The Algemeiner, Oct. 7, 2017]
Belgium also expressed its desire to partner with the PA on education matters:
"Belgium is a long-time partner of the Palestinian Authority's strategic plan for education. Belgium endeavours to promote a culture of respect for human rights, human dignity and tolerance. These principles should be reflected in curricula taught at schools funded abroad by Belgian taxpayer's contributions as well as in the names and logos of such schools."
[Website of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oct. 10, 2017]
The upcoming meeting with the PA Ministry of Education is a great opportunity for Belgium to clarify these principles to the PA, and demand it teach Palestinian children to seek peace, rather than to emulate terrorist murderers.
The following is the report in the official PA daily announcing the meeting with the Belgian Consul General:
"The [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education... expressed great sorrow over the temporary freeze of the Belgian aid to build two schools due to the reservations regarding the name given to one of the schools (PMW exposed that the school was named after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi who led the murder of 37, 12 of them children -Ed.) that were built five years ago with Belgian aid in the village of Beit Awwa, which is part of the Southern Hebron [Education] Directorate (i.e., under the PA Ministry of Education).
The ministry noted that it has great appreciation for the Belgian government's aid to the ministry's efforts to develop education and for the funding that it gives projects in this field, and therefore it hurried to invite the Belgian consul general to meet soon in order to discuss this matter. The ministry also emphasized that its cooperation with the Belgian partners continues, and that a meeting will be held with the representatives of the Belgian cooperation institution next Wednesday [Oct. 18, 2017] in order to discuss the Belgian aid to the education sector in the future."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 11, 2017]

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