MidEast

Belgium Cuts Funding to Palestinian Education Ministry Over Terror Support

Belgium has ended ties with the Palestinian Authority’s Education Ministry over the latter’s honoring of terrorists, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Sunday.

The decision, which was originally reported Friday by the Belgian Jewish newspaper Joods Actueel, was announced in a statement by Belgium’s Education Ministry that said, “As long as school names are used to glorify terrorism, Belgium can no longer cooperate with the Palestinian Education Ministry and will not give out budgets for the construction of schools.”

Belgium last year froze $3.8 million in funding for the construction of two Palestinian schools, after a West Bank school was named for a terrorist who killed civilians. Repeated demands by Belgium to change the school’s named were rebuffed by Palestinian authorities. According to the statement, this is what led to the end of the funding.

Sometime after 2013, a school near Hebron was named for Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who led the infamous 1978 Coastal Road massacre that left 38 people dead, including 13 children. Due to pressure from Belgium, the PA took Mughrabi’s name off of the school, but subsequently named two other schools for her.

The editor in chief of Joods Actueel, Michael Freilich, praised Belgian Education Minister Alexander De Croo for his “courageous decision.” Freilich expressed his hope that other European countries would follow Belgium’s lead so that “fewer Palestinian children will be educated to hate — at least not with European money.”

Belgium’s decision to stop financing Palestinian schools comes at the same time that the United States is ending all financial aid to the PA. In recent weeks, the U.S. has ended all aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), closed the PLO office in Washington D.C., and ended all U.S. programs that aided the PA.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor to the president, recently told The New York Times that “nobody is entitled to America’s foreign aid.” Kushner also asserted that the Trump administration, by taking steps against the PA leadership that defied the U.S., got rid of “false realities” about the possibilities of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The State Department, in a statement explaining the closure of the PLO office, charged that “the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” The failure of the PLO to engage with Israel undermined the administration’s efforts to “support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians.”

[Photo: Peter Linke / Flickr ]