Denmark canceled its funding to a Palestinian NGO and is demanding its money be returned, following the examples of Norway and the United Nations, in reaction to a Palestinian NGO’s naming of a youth and women’s center after a notorious female terrorist.
The Women’s Technical Affairs Committee (WATC), a Palestinian NGO, named the center, located in the Palestinian town of Burqa, after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.
The center was funded in part by UN Women and Norway via the Palestinian Election Commission, supposedly to promote the participation of women in elections.
Mughrabi led a terrorist attack in Israel in 1978 that claimed 37 civilian lives, including many children. It was the most lethal attack in Israel’s history.
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Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen expressed fury over the glorification of Mughrabi and demanded that his country’s funding be returned.
“I am outraged that the WATC, which claims to work for human rights, has not only glorified a terrorist but also abused the trust of a generous people like the Danish,” Samuelsen stated. “It is completely unacceptable and I can’t distance myself strongly enough from it. Denmark and Danish tax kroner must under no circumstances be used for anything that glorifies or promotes terrorists in any way.”
Samuelsen added that the foreign ministry has ended all cooperation with the center because it had “withheld crucial information” about naming of the women’s center “after a female Palestinian terrorist.”
Denmark’s decision follows similar condemnation by UN Secretary General António Guterresand Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry rejected the UN’s criticism, calling on the UN “to stop expressing the surprising and unacceptable positions and statements… These responses chose to adopt the Israeli narrative and terminology… and in an unprecedented manner publishes extremely strange and severe notices, and gives troubling signals of changes that have been taking place recently in the functioning and language of the UN,” according to a report by official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
Ignoring the loss of funding, the head of the Burqa village council was adamant about keeping the name. Indeed, Chairman Sami Daghlas said they would rather return the funding than comply.
“If we are forced to choose between the aid and a name, we will return the aid to them, and we will not agree to conditional funding, because this type of funding kills the institutions… If we were to agree today to change the name, that would whet their (i.e. funding countries) appetite for additional extortion, and tomorrow they will interfere in our names and change the names of our cities and villages to biblical names,” said Daghlas, according to the Palestinian Information Center news site.
He also boasted that the name was specifically chosen to honor the terrorist.
“The choice of this name was meant to honor young Martyr Dalal Mughrabi, who resisted the occupation and hoped for the freedom and independence of her people… We, as Palestinians, are always proud of those who sacrificed for their homeland, whether they are Martyrs, prisoners, expelled, or wounded,” he stated, according to Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
He further marginalized Norway’s aid to the center, saying it was merely “a few thousand (dollars), which was spent on renovating and equipping the [center’s] building.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Denmark’s move.
“I…contacted the Danish Prime Minister and spoke with him at length. As a result of this conversation, the Danish Ambassador in Israel has announced that Denmark is also withdrawing its financing from this body,” Netanyahu stated before taking off for Liberia, where he attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference on Sunday.