By Adam Abrams/JNS.org
Acting immediately on a report issued Friday by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Norway demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) return Norwegian state funding for a women’s youth center named after female Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who masterminded an attack that killed 37 Israelis.
Mughrabi orchestrated the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, during which Palestinian terrorists hijacked a bus on the highway near Tel Aviv and embarked on a murderous rampage with Kalashnikov rifles, mortars, grenades and explosives. Twelve children were among the 37 slain Israelis in what remains the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history.
“The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms,” Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende said in a statement. “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.”
Brende also requested that the logo of the Representative Office of Norway in Ramallah be removed from the building of the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center,” and that all Norwegian funds used for the center’s construction “be repaid.”
PMW Director Itamar Marcus told JNS.org his organization, which monitors Palestinian incitement, “is very pleased by Norway’s swift action condemning the PA’s naming of yet another institution after a terrorist.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “Norway has done the right thing. Standing strongly against the positive commemoration of terrorists is an essential part of the international effort to eradicate terrorism.”
The ministry added, “Israel suggests that all members of the international community check where money invested in the PA ends up, and expects all other partners in this project to follow Norway’s example.”
According to PMW, the youth center was a joint initiative of the PA, the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (a Palestinian NGO), the United Nations and Norway's Representative Office to the PA. Upon completion, the center featured a sign displaying the logos of all four organizations.
Like the Norwegian government, the U.N. moved to distance itself from the center.
“The name chosen by the community center is wrong and unacceptable,” said Robert Piper, the U.N.’s deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, demanding that the world body’s logo “be removed immediately” from the building.
Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said, “The United Nations disassociated itself from the center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future.” Dujarric added, “The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances.”
PMW’s Marcus said the PA “has been responding recently to international criticism over its terror glorification by actually increasing its terror glorification. Just last week, PMW reported that in one month, the Palestinian Authority honored 44 terrorists involved in the murder of 440 people.”
“The PA’s strategy has been to increase its terror glorification in the belief that the international community would eventually give in to them and recognize the terrorists as so-called ‘prisoners of conscience,’” he said.
Norway’s “three-stage action”—condemning the honoring of a terrorist, demanding the funds for the center be returned, and instituting stricter controls for the future—“sends a strong message to the PA that the world rejects their attempt to glorify murder of Israelis in the name of ‘freedom fighting,’” said Marcus.
In March, following the announcement that a PLO youth camp would be named after Mughrabi, District Governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam praised the initiative for “remembering the pure-hearted martyrs” and insisted on a “solidarity rally” to honor the terrorists who carried out the Coastal Road massacre.
Norway’s demand came just three days after President Donald Trump, in a joint press conference with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said peace “can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” referring to the PA’s glorification of terror as well as its payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families.
In an interview with Israel Radio in early May, senior PA official Nabil Shaath unequivocally rejected Trump’s request to end the PA’s financial support for terrorists, calling the U.S. proposal “insane.”
“It’s absurd to request that we stop paying the families of prisoners,” Shaath said. “That would be like asking Israel to stop paying its soldiers.”