Four European nations have stopped funding a Palestinian women’s committee after it was revealed that the nonprofit group named a “women’s empowerment center” after a female terrorist.
The Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, or WATC, built the youth center for girls in May in the town of Burqa, near Nablus, in the Palestinian Territories.
It was named for Dalal Mughrabi, who led the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978. Known as the Coastal Road massacre, Mughrabi and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, murdering 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding more than 70.
The naming of the center was exposed by the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch.
PMW said Norway, whose name appeared prominently on the center’s sign along with the United Nations, was first to announce withdrawal of funding.
Denmark followed suit, and later the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat – a donor program sponsored by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland – also decided to withdraw funding of the WATC.
Established in 1992, WATC says it endeavors “to build women’s framework and mobilize their energies to advocate for the rights of Palestinian women and monitor commitment with such rights in a manner consistent with national references and international covenants.”
WATC, according to Wattan, the independent Palestinian news agency, “condemned” the withdrawal of funding, stating in a press release it “considered this to be an adoption of the Israeli occupation’s narrative regarding the history of the legal Palestinian struggle as a liberation movement against colonialism and the Israeli occupation that continue to this day, which is identical to all the other liberation movements in history.”
The head of the WATC board of directors, Samia Bamia, expressed the committee’s opposition to the decision.
“We will not agree to erase our memory or condemn our history [in exchange] for funding,” Bamia said.
In a radio interview Oct. 31 with the Voice of Palestine, the official PA radio station, Bamia stated that the donors’ decision to condition funding on the change of the name of the Dalal Mughrabi Center constitutes “a danger” and is an attempt to alter the Palestinian “consciousness” and change Palestinian “identity and history.”
“When [the funding states] talk about an agenda of equality we are for [it]. [When] they talk about an agenda of democracy we are for [it]. [When] they talk about an agenda of human rights we are for [it]. But when national belonging turns into something forbidden, here the danger begins,” she said.
“Despite the fact that we are working in the field of women’s rights, they came to settle accounts with us over our thoughts about our nationality and its defense.”
In its press release, the WATC also emphasized that it has no intention of complying with the donor countries’ demands to rename the center.
Instead, WATC called on Palestinians to continue being “loyal to the cause” of which Mughrabi is a known symbol.
The organization, according to Wattan, the independent Palestinian news agency, said “national duty and historical responsibility that is placed on all of our shoulders requires us to unify efforts against these policies and conditions, and emphasize our loyalty to our cause, our national and legal rights, and our people’s struggle that is continuing until the achievement of freedom, return [for the refugees], and independence.”
In March, Palestinian Media Watch reported the PA named a youth camp in Jericho after Mughrabi.
Last year, on the anniversary of the attack, a girls school in the PA capital Ramallah held the “Dalal Mughrabi Cup” in honor of the murderer.
Two years ago, on the anniversary of the attack, Mughrabi was honored by Fatah on Facebook when the party told Israelis to collect the body parts of murdered Israelis and leave the Holy Land.
“On this day, March 11, in 1978, Dalal Mughrabi and her companions declared the birth of the Palestinian Republic in the heart of the occupied territories,” Fatah said.
Palestinian Media Watch has posted a list of 31 Palestinian schools named for terrorists and Nazi collaborators, “presenting murderers who targeted civilians as role models for Palestinian children.”
Another 22 schools glorify “martyrdom” in general.
One school is named for a Hitler associate and Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands.
Children in such schools interviewed on PA TV have said the terrorists have become role models for them.