Norway freezes funds to UN Women Palestine over center named for terrorist


GENEVA, May 27, 2017 – Norway has frozen all new funding agreements with UN Women’s Palestinian office in wake of a youth centre built with Norwegian aid money that was named after a terrorist who participated in the killing of 12 children.

UN Watch is now calling on all donors to UN Women to follow Norway’s example, including top donors giving tens of millions to UN Women such as Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, UK, Australia, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark, USA, Canada, Belgium, EU, Spain, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Ireland.

All donors states should follow Norway in insisting that UN Women establish “satisfactory procedures” to ensure that “nothing of this nature happens again,’ in the words of Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende. See full Norwegian statement below.

Norway said its funding was “to promote the participation of women in elections.” It was not clear which Palestinian elections, however, as Mahmoud Abbas is now in the 12th year of his 4-year term, which was supposed to end on January 9, 2009. “Many Palestinians have never voted in presidential or parliamentary elections because Mr. Abbas has failed to hold them, even though they are called for in the Basic Law governing the Palestinian Authority,” wrote Diana Buttu on Friday.

UN Women Palestine Funds Anti-Israel Advocacy

UN Women’s Palestinian section appears to engage in a variety of programs that promote anti-Israel advocacy.

For 2017, it wants:

  • $211,168 to advocate internationally against Israeli policies in eastern Jerusalem. “The documented cases of women will be published in a report that will be used for advocacy purposes including advocacy tours. Besides, field visits will be organized targeting international advocacy actors based locally to raise their awareness on the issue and listen to the voices of women subject to these violations. One advocacy visit targeting UN bodies and CSOs [Civil Society Organizations] in Europe will be organized to advocate for residency rights of women in EJ [East Jerusalem]. In addition, a documentary film on the impact of residency rights policies on women in EJ will be produced.”


  • $164,000 for “Engendering Humanitarian Action in oPt [occupied Palestinian territory].” This includes such activities as “Design and produce advocacy materials (e.g. print, audio visual, social media, press conferences)” and “distribute advocacy materials in oPt and internationally.”

    Under this category, in 2016 Spain funded a major report on how to use the subject of human rights to pursue Israel internationally for “crimes against humanity”, including “the crime of apartheid.”

    The UN Women report, authored by Human Rights Watch’s Wendy Isaack, contemplates requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on whether “Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people as a whole,” including Arab citizens of Israel, violates “the prohibition of apartheid under international law.”

    The report was “generously supported by the Government of Spain, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AECID,” and thanks the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Palestine” and numerous UN agencies for playing “an important role” in supporting the research.


Statement by Norway Freezing New Agreements With UN Palestine 

Norway’s full statement:

A Palestinian women’s centre in the village of Burqa on the West Bank has recently been named after Dalal Mughrabi. Dalal Mughrabi took part in a terrorist attack in Israel in 1978 that killed 37 civilians, including many children. The centre has received funding from Norway via the Palestinian Election Commission and UN Women to promote the participation of women in elections.

‘The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. 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,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

It was not until after Norway had stopped providing funding for the centre that it became known that it was to be named after the Palestinian terrorist. This happened in connection with the opening of the centre last week. Neither the Norwegian authorities nor the UN were consulted in advance or invited to the opening ceremony. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted immediately when it became aware of the matter today.

‘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 centre to be repaid. We will not enter into any new agreements with either the Palestinian Election Commission or UN Women in Palestinian areas until satisfactory procedures are in place to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again,’ said Mr Brende.



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