Belgium suspends aid for Palestinian schools over name row

A banner with a picture of Dalal Mughrabi, who led a deadly attack on an Israeli bus in 1978 (AFP Photo/ABBAS MOMANI)

Brussels (AFP) - Belgium said Tuesday it has suspended education aid projects with the Palestinian Authority after discovering a school it paid for had been named after a woman who led a deadly attack on a bus in 1978.

The Belgian foreign ministry said they had recently learned that a school in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron whose construction they financed in 2012 and 2013 had subsequently been renamed the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School.

The name was changed without Belgian knowledge, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the government considered the new name to be "unacceptable".

"Dalal Mughrabi was a Palestinian terrorist who lead a terrorist attack against Israel in 1978. This attack caused the death of 38 civilians, including 13 children," the statement said.

"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."

While waiting for an explanation from the Palestinian Authority, the statement said, Belgium has put two school-building projects worth a total of 3.3 million euros ($3.8 million) on hold.

The Palestinian mission in Brussels declined to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.