JERUSALEM, Israel – In a welcome turn of events, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende announced Friday that Norway will no longer support the Palestinian Authority youth center for women named after arch-terrorist Dalal Mughrabi.
"The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms," Brende said. "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."
Brende asked the P.A. to remove Norway's logo without delay and return funds it had allocated for the center.
In 1978, Mughrabi led a group of terrorists in a bus hijacking and slaughter of 37 civilians, among them 12 children. It was the deadliest attack in Israel's history. The Palestinian Authority views Mughrabi as one of its most beloved and admired martyrs.
The P.A. has named sports tournaments, summer camps and schools after Mughrabi, with senior officials heaping praise on her and presenting her as a role model to children and the massacre as heroic.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres took a similar step on Sunday.
"The United Nations disassociated itself from the center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future," Guterres said in a statement.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry praised Norway's decision.
"Norway has done the right thing," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. "Standing strongly against the positive commemoration of terrorists is an essential part of the international effort to eradicate terrorism."
The Foreign Ministry recommended that international donors follow Norway's example and investigate how the P.A. is using its donations.