The United Nations has pulled its support for a Palestinian women’s centre after a decision to name it after a terrorist, with Norway asking for its donor money back.
The rebuke follows a Palestinian Authority decision to name the new cultural centre in the West Bank after Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 was one of 13 Palestinians to hijack a Tel Aviv bus, killing 38 people – many children.
She and eight other militants were killed during the course of the hijacking, and she has since been praised as a “martyr” by Palestinian leaders, with public squares, summer camps and even football tournaments named after her.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said this week that the UN withdrew its support “once it learned the offensive name chosen for it” and promised to “take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future”.
He added: “The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances. The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace.”
Norway’s foreign minister had earlier demanded money donated to build the centre be returned, saying: “The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms.”
He added: “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.”