In oral questions to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs today, the Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP, condemned the glorification of terror in the Palestinian Territories.
Mr Ellwood said that the ongoing practice in the Palestinian Territories of naming schools, roads and sports tournaments after terrorists “doesn’t suggest that the Palestinians themselves are as serious as they should be” about a peace agreement.
The Minister’s comments came in response to a question from CFI Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, who asked: “We’ve recently seen two initiatives within the region – the extension of fishing rights for Gazan fisherman with the cooperation of Israel, and secondly the naming of a basketball tournament in the name of a terrorist who killed 36 people including 12 children. Which of those two initiatives do you think is likely to bring about a two-state solution?”
The former Communities and Local Government Secretary was referring to “The Dalal Mughrabi Cup”, a recent basketball tournament hosted by the Al-Awael School for Girls, a school in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education.
Dalal Mughrabi led the most deadly terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978 when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.
There are at least three Palestinian schools named after the terrorist, including the Dalal Mughrabi High School for Girls in Gaza and the Dalal Mughrabi Elementary School for Girls near Hebron in the West Bank.
Mr Ellwood replied: “My Rt. Hon. friend highlights the dilemma that we face here. We need to see grassroots initiatives on a low level such as the extension of fishing rights, which I’ve been pressing for some time, but there’s also oil and gas reserves that can be tapped into as well, off Gaza, which also will help the economy”.
He continued: “But at the same time, when we see basketball courts, or indeed schools or streets being named after terrorists, this doesn’t suggest that the Palestinians themselves are as serious as they should be”.