Netanyahu praises Norway for defunding women’s center named for terrorist
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Netanyahu praises Norway for defunding women’s center named for terrorist

PM says he urged Oslo to act after Palestinians honored Dalal Mughrabi, who helped kill 38 civilians in terror attack

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a special cabinet meeting for Jerusalem Day, held in the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City on May 28, 2017. (AFP/GALI TIBBON)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a special cabinet meeting for Jerusalem Day, held in the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City on May 28, 2017. (AFP/GALI TIBBON)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday praised Norway for withdrawing funding from a Palestinian women’s center named for a terrorist who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre.

The prime minister said Israel had made a point of pressing nations and organizations over this issue and would continue to do so.

Dalal Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70. The new West Bank center, which opened last month and was funded in part by the Scandinavian country, was named in her honor.

The prime minister revealed during the weekly meeting of his Likud parliamentary faction that he instructed Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem several days ago to press Norway and the United Nations to pull their donations from the West Bank project.

Palestinians inaugurate a square to commemorate Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who killed dozens of Israeli civilians in a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel, seen in portrait, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinians inaugurate a square to commemorate Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who killed dozens of Israeli civilians in a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel, seen in portrait, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Norway’s foreign minister “did precisely that. And it’s good that he did,” the prime minister said.

He said “according to his understanding,” the UN will also distance itself from the organization. The UN issued a statement on Sunday condemning the center.

“We implement this policy even with regard to our closest friends, and warn them we cannot accept it that friendly governments support organizations that glorify terrorism and act against IDF soldiers,” Netanyahu said. “It’s a process.”

On Friday Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said that Norway had been unaware of the decision to name the center after Mughrabi. He demanded that the country’s name be removed from the center and that the funds it gave for construction be returned.

“We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the center to be repaid,” he said.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Oslo, 2015. (Bjoertvedt/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Oslo, 2015. (Bjoertvedt/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Brende also said that Norway would no longer participate in similar projects until the country receives assurances “that nothing of this nature happens again.”

At the faction meeting Netanyahu also defended his new policy to boycott foreign leaders who meet with left-leaning NGOs, which Israel accuses of setting up Israeli soldiers for future prosecution in foreign tribunals.

“You can meet me. But you cannot meet with these organizations and also meet with me,” he said, adding that this message is sinking in.

“Our soldiers protect us. And we will protect them,” he concluded.

Last month, Netanyahu canceled on short notice a meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel over the latter’s refusal to abort a planned meeting with Breaking the Silence — which Netanyahu has denounced as a group trying to get Israeli soldiers tried for war crimes.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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