BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Days after Norway pulled its sponsorship from an occupied West Bank women’s community center and demanded a refund for construction costs from the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the United Nations (UN) promptly pulling its backing as well, the center has reportedly said it will not change its name, which the UN said “glorifies terrorism.”
The Dalal al-Mughrabi
Women’s Community Center — named after a fighter in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who played a role in a 1978 attack that left over 30 Israelis and 12 Palestinian fighters dead, including al-Mughrabi herself — was built in the Nablus-area village of Burqa in the northern West Bank.
The center was sponsored by both the UN and the Norwegian government, who provided partial financial support for the construction of the center, which had remained nameless until it was officially inaugurated earlier this month.
Official PA-owned Wafa news agency reported
Tuesday that the head of the Burqa village council, Sami Daghlas, said “the center has no intention of caving in to the pressure and changing its name.”
Daghlas told Wafa that the center was built “to serve and empower young women in the village and to help them develop them to become active members in society.”According to Daghlas, the name Dalal al-Mughrabi was chosen by the villagers “to commemorate a Palestinian hero who sacrificed herself for her country and therefore they have no intention to change its name, regardless of the price.”“Instead of fighting a community center that does not exceed 50 square meters in area and works on serving young women in the community, they should be objecting to regular attacks by (Israeli) settlers against the village
and its people and to allow farmers to reach their land that was taken away from them,” Daghlas said, as he expressed his surprise at the actions of the UN and Norway, which he said were done “to satisfy Israel.”
The Times of Israel reported last week that the Norwegian Foreign Minister had condemned the PA for the name choice of the center, saying “Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way,” and demanded that the PA reimburse Norway for the costs contributed to the center.
In his interview with Wafa, Daghlas said that the people of Burqa did not object to returning the money to Norway, which he said “was only few thousand dollars used to repair and refurbish the building, and would never capitulate to pressure and blackmail.”
One day after Norway’s move to pull funding from the center, the UN pulled its sponsorship from the center, which it called “offensive.”
“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,” the Times of Israel said, quoting a statement from Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the UN statement said, adding that the UN had requested that the logo of UN Women be removed from the building.
According to Wafa, Daghlas said that the UN was responsible for funding some projects put on by the center.
Wafa also quoted Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, as saying that “Israel glorifies Jewish terrorists and pays them money and no one objects to that,” referencing the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and other Jewish extremists convicted of attacking and killing Palestinians and Israelis, who Majdalani said still receive Israeli government stipends through the national insurance plan.