In an unprecedented move, Brende demanded that the Palestinian Authority immediately remove the Norwegian Foreign Ministry's logo from the building and return the aid money used to fund the construction.
Dalal Mughrabi was the head of a terrorist cell that carried out the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, in which 35 Israeli civilians were killed, including 12 children. Mughrabi herself was killed in the ensuing battle between the terrorists and security forces.
The new women's center had received funding from Norway through the Palestinian Election Commission and an organization called "UN Women in Palestine," which promotes the participation of Palestinian women in elections.
"The glorification of terror attacks is completely unacceptable and I condemn this decision in the strongest possible terms," said Brende. "Norway will not allow itself to be identified with institutions that are named after terrorists in such a way, and we will not accept the use of Norwegian aid for such purposes."
The incident occurred when the center was officially opened last week. Organizers of the event did not consult with officials from Norway nor the UN and did not invite them to the opening ceremony. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry immediately responded after learning of the matter.
Brende further noted that "Norway will not enter into any new aid agreements with the Palestinian Election Commission or UN Women in Palestine until procedures are put in place to ensure actions such as these don't happen again in the future."
In response to the incident, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, "Norway took the right step. A firm stance against the commemoration of terrorists is an integral part of the international effort to eradicate terrorism. We recommend that the international community thoroughly check where their money is invested in the Palestinian Authority and we expect all project partners to act as Norway did."
Spokesman for the Secretary-General António Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric issued a statement, also disassociating itself from the decision to name the center after the terrorist.
"The United Nations disassociated itself from the Centre once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future. The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances," Dujarric said. "The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace. The United Nations support to this community ended last year and it has asked for the logo of UN Women to be removed immediately. Furthermore, the inauguration of the Centre took place after the UN’s association with it."
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)