Monday, December 10, 2018

Belgium ends funding for Palestinian schools


By Marc Henry - September 19, 2018
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The Belgian Minister of Cooperation, Alexander De Croo has announced that Belgium will no longer cooperate with the Palestinian Ministry of Education while Palestinian schools bear the names of “terrorists.” 

The announcement was made on August 14, after the Palestinian Authorities failed to change the name of a school whose construction was financed by Belgium.
 
The school which was built in 2013 and is located in the South Hebron hills changed its name from Beit Awwa Basic Girls School to Dalal Mugrabi Elementary School.
 
Dalal Mugrabi is known as a Palestinian terrorist who participated in a hostage-taking operation on a bus in 1978. The hostage-situation claimed the lives of 38 Israelis, including 13 children.
 
“The Belgian government unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks. Belgium will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way,” the Belgian Minister of Cooperation Alexander de Croo said in a statement.
 
The Belgian government was made aware of the name change already in 2017. Here, Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute called on the Belgian government to “investigate this issue and insist that the PA rename the school immediately.
 
Last year Belgium froze 3.8 million US Dollars in funding for the construction of two Palestinian schools after a West Bank school, funded by Brussels, was renamed for a terrorist who killed Jewish civilians.
 
Belgium is a major contributor to PA school funding. Not less than 23 new schools have been built in the West Bank since 2001 with help from the Belgian Development Agency.
 
Brussels has budgeted 16.5 million Euros for funding PA schools between July 2013 and July 2020 according to the BDA website.
 
However, the funding has been suspended until further notice.
 
Even so, the Belgium government assured that it will remain active in Palestine and will continue to contribute to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA).
 
In May 2017, Norway demanded funds for a Palestinian Women’s centre in the West Bank be returned after the institution renamed itself after Dalal Mughrabi.
 
A Palestinian Media Watch report from September 2017 listed four schools currently named after Dalal Mughrabi. According to the report, 75 Palestinian Authority schools are named after terrorists and Nazi collaborators and honouring Martyrs and Martyrdom.
 
The Palestinian Authorities are yet to comment on the announcement.

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