Belgium suspends its support to Palestinian schools
In reaction to a number of articles published the last few days, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo clarify the Belgian policy regarding the support to schools in the Palestinian Territories.
The Belgian government has supported the construction of a school building in the south of Hebron in 2012-2013. When the school building was handed over to the local community in 2013 it was called ‘Beit Awwa Basic Girls School’. This name was later changed to ‘Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School’. The Belgian government was unaware of this name change.
Minister Reynders and Minister De Croo find this change of name unacceptable. Dalal Mughrabi was a Palestinian terrorist who lead a terrorist attack against Israël in 1978. This attacks caused the death of 38 civilians, including 13 children.
The Belgian government unequivocally condemns the glorification of terrorist attacks. Belgium will not allow itself to be associated with the names of terrorists in any way.
Our country has immediately raised this issue with the Palestinian Authority and is awaiting a formal response.
In the meantime, Belgium has put on hold two projects related to the construction of Palestinian schools, for an amount of 3.3 million euros.
Belgium is a long-time partner of the Palestinian Authority’s strategic plan for education. Belgium endeavours to promote a culture of respect for human rights, human dignity and tolerance. These principles 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.