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Financing the Flames

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Norway Demands Palestinian Youth Center Return Money, Remove Logos

May 28th 2017

Hamas girls demonstration flags and minaret

Within hours after PMW reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money was named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi, Norway condemned it and demanded their money be returned. 

On Friday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money and with the involvement of the PA's Ministry of Local Government had been named the "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center" after the terrorist who led the murder of 37 in a bus hijacking. The very same day, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the center and demanded that the Norwegian money be returned:
 
"The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way... We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid."
Norwegian Foreign Ministry website, May 26, 2017

The Foreign Minister added that before Norway funds new projects, new procedures must be in place to prevent this from happening again: "We will not enter into any new agreements with either the Palestinian Election Commission or UN Women in Palestinian areas until satisfactory procedures are in place to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again,' said [Foreign Minister] Mr Brende." 

The UN also disassociated itself from the center, rejecting the choice of name as "wrong and unacceptable":
 
UN Assistant Secretary General for Development and Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine, Robert Piper: "The United Nations support for this center ended last year. The inauguration of the center took place a few weeks ago, well after the UN association with it concluded. The name chosen by the community center is wrong and unacceptable. The UN Women logo should not be associated with it and it will be removed immediately."
Robert Piper on Twitter, May 26, 2017
 
The UN Women website added: "UN Women supported the rehabilitation of a community building in Burqa last year but has had no role in the naming or any other activity related to the Centre since the completion of the project was at the end of 2016. The UN Women logo in the recent inauguration event was used without any prior authorization from the UN. UN Women is asking the community Centre, with immediate effect, to withdraw the UN Women logo from all public material, and not to use its logo for any events or activities."

The following is the full official statement by the Norwegian Foreign Minister, May 26, 2017,
condemning the Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center:  

Unacceptable Glorification of Terrorist Attacks
A Palestinian women's centre in the village of Burqa on the West Bank has recently been named after Dalal Mughrabi. Dalal Mughrabi took part in a terrorist attack in Israel in 1978 that killed 37 civilians, including many children. The centre has received funding from Norway via the Palestinian Election Commission and UN Women to promote the participation of women in elections. 'The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. 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.

It was not until after Norway had stopped providing funding for the centre that it became known that it was to be named after the Palestinian terrorist. This happened in connection with the opening of the centre last week. Neither the Norwegian authorities nor the UN were consulted in advance or invited to the opening ceremony. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted immediately when it became aware of the matter today.

We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid. We will not enter into any new agreements with either the Palestinian Election Commission or UN Women in Palestinian areas until satisfactory procedures are in place to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again,' said Mr Brende."


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