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August 10, 2018 3:27 pm

Ten Months On, Palestinian School Built With Belgian Aid Still Named After Terrorist Who Massacred 38 People

avatar by Shiri Moshe

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The Dalal Mughrabi elementary school. Photo: Facebook.

A Palestinian school built with support from Brussels still bears the name of a mass-murdering terrorist and continues to display a plaque with the Belgian flag.

The elementary school in the West Bank was gifted to the Palestinian Authority in 2013 and subsequently renamed in honor of Dalal Mughrabi — a Palestinian nationalist who in 1978 helped massacre 38 people, including 13 children, near Tel Aviv.

A plaque displayed near the entrance of the school — whose logo includes a map erasing Israel — features the Belgian flag and identifies the Belgian government and the Belgian Development Agency as its backers.

After the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) brought the institute to public attention last October, a spokesperson for the Belgian Foreign Ministry told The Algemeiner that the country would “not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way” and has “immediately” raised the issue with the PA.

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Belgian values “should be reflected in curricula taught at schools funded abroad by Belgian taxpayer’s contributions as well as in the names and logos of such schools,” the spokesperson said.

The ministry also announced that it would suspend two projects related to the construction of Palestinian schools, amounting to 3.3 million euros.

In November, a spokesperson clarified that projects that “could not be put on hold” — such as schools that were already under construction or being built by third parties — would proceed as planned. “Belgian authorities have had several meetings with Palestinian officials about this incident,” he added, noting that “dialogue has not been concluded and is being pursued.”

Yet the end of July — nearly 10 months after the name change was uncovered — the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article that referred to the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School,” indicating that its name has not yet been changed, PMW noted. The plaque with the Belgian flag also remains on display, a photo shared alongside the article showed.

The school, which has previously posted online images glorifying Palestinian attackers, is likewise still using a logo that features Mughrabi’s image and a map that portrays Israel as Palestinian territory — a map it appears to be teaching its pupils to draw, according to classroom photos shared online this year.

“The school that was built with Belgium money, still today, has on its walls the name of a terrorist mass murderer together with the flag and dedication of the Belgium government,” PMW observed.

The research group pointed out that the Belgian consul general in Jerusalem also attended the inauguration of a Palestinian school funded by Belgium in April.

A spokesperson for the Belgian Foreign Ministry told The Algemeiner in response that the country stood by its previously articulated policy regarding support to schools in the Palestinian territories, which “unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks.”

He affirmed that the decision to suspend two Palestinian school construction projects in the West Bank “remains in effect until further notice,” but did not elaborate on steps taken to prevent other schools built with Belgian funding from violating the country’s stated commitment to human rights.

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