Will Guardian amend ‘feel-good’ Palestinian teacher story to note husband’s terror attack?

A recent article by Harriet Sherwood (Palestinian Global Teacher victor: ‘My students are the true prize winners’, March 18) had that quintessentially Guardian feel – replete with “peaceful” Palestinian protagonists turning the other cheek amidst the daily humiliations and cruelties meted out by the Israeli ‘occupation’.

Indeed, at least on the face of it, the story (by the Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent) about Ramallah resident Hanan al-Hroub, who was named as this year’s winner of “an award described as the Nobel prize for teaching”, certainly seems inspired.  Hroub won the award out of recognition for her use of classroom games which “reward positive non-violent behaviour” – a topic she’s written a book about.


Hroub reacts after winning the award

However, red flags appear when the story pivots to her husband, Omar:

Hroub only began working as a teacher in 2007. After leaving school, she was forced to abandon her plans for further education when Palestinian universities closed during the first intifada, or uprising, between 1987 and 1993. Instead she got married and had five children.

In 2000, when her youngest was established at school, Hroub resumed her education part-time at Al-Quds University. Within months, her husband, Omar, and two of her daughters were shot at by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Bethlehem. Omar was injured in the shoulder and the girls were traumatised.

“This incident changed my life. We were in shock. My children were suffering, and the teachers were not trained to deal with trauma. At that point I decided to commit my life to teaching.”


Omar, Hroub’s lawyer husband, said he had never doubted that his wife would win. “I was totally confident, and I was right. I was very happy,” he said, flanked on a sofa by four of the couple’s five children

As reported by Israellycool, the Guardian failed to reveal that Hroub’s husband was a major accomplice in a deadly attack in 1980 which killed six peaceful Jewish worshipers in Hebron (and injured 16 others) as they were walking home from Sabbath prayers.


Israeli victims of 1980 terror attack in Hebron

The victims had been “walking in a narrow alley” on their way home from the Cave of the Patriarchs when “PLO terrorists attacked them from the roofs of two buildings, first by hailing them with bullets from the rear and then by hurling hand-grenades and explosives at them from several directions”.

The story about the role of al-Hroub (also spelled Kharoub) in the killing was reported in both the Israeli and US media at the time of his arrest.  A New York Times article on September 17, 1980. (Israel holds 10 Arabs for Hebron slaying of 6 Jews in May, David Shipler) noted the following:

Only one of the six Palestinians accused of helping the terrorists was identified: He was said to be Omar Kharoub, 30, a resident of Beit Jala and a graduate of Beirut University in chemistry, who worked in blood banks in Hebron and East Jerusalem.

An article in the old Israeli Labor paper Dvar on Sept. 17, 1980 went into further detail about Omar’s role in the murders.

Together with the four members of the [terrorist] squad, their principle accomplice is Omar Harub, resident of Beit Jala, 30 years old, graduate of Beirut university a chemist by profession. He worked at the blood bank in Hebron and East Jerusalem and enlisted in “Fatah” in 1978. By order of the Command HQ in Beirut he drove the squad in his car from one hiding place to another, and provided them with chemicals to prepare the explosives thrown on the worshippers on the night of the murder. (translation of the original Hebrew by CAMERA)

Now, just a few days ago, Associated Press (AP) published a story (Foundation Defends Award to Palestinian Teacher, March 31st) citing an AP story (published at the time of the 1980 attack) noting that Omar in fact served 10 years in an Israeli prison after being convicted of being “an accomplice” in the attack.  The March 31st AP story also reported that the foundation that awarded Hroub the $1 million prize for preaching nonviolence is sticking by its choice following the revelations about her husband.

In light of this new information, which significantly compromises Sherwood’s narrative of an innocent Palestinian family overcoming Israeli violence and oppression, the Guardian should consider either publishing a new story noting the terror background of Omar, or amending the original article to take these details into account.

We’ve contacted Guardian editors and Ms. Sherwood to see if either an addendum or a new article will be forthcoming, and will update you if we receive a reply.

76 replies »

  1. The (insert word) is back. She would definitely make gratuitous remarks about Israel, had it been the other way around.

  2. Had it been the other way around – this hack would have had apoplexy. The Guardian would have dined out on that story for the rest of time.

  3. @Adam Levick –

    Of course, it’s important to give FULL details in a story of this sort. So perhaps if Harriet Sherwood agrees to publish the extra detail you require, she might also like to fill in some gaps that are puzzling me:

    * Why were Hanan al-Hroub’s husband and daughters “shot at” in 2000? (This incident occurred twenty years after Omar al-Haroub’s crime – and some ten years after he’d completed his jail sentence – and there’s no suggestion he’d committed any offence during those latter decades or at the checkpoint.)

    * So was his wounding an “accident”? A “reckless” act by a twitchy soldier? An attempted “extra-judicial execution” to avenge the 1980 killings … etc?

    * Was a full inquiry held into the 2000 shooting? (If so, what was the result – and if no inquiry, why not?)

    * Did the al-Haroub family seek or receive any compensation/apology for the wounding and trauma the children suffered?

    This may all, I realise, end up looking very much like an anti-Israel/anti-IDF “smear campaign” by the time these historical questions are answered. But in the overriding interest of aiding readers’ complete understanding and judgement of the “feel good” matter at hand, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s just the inevitable fall-out from a thoroughly researched piece of journalism.

    • Miranda,
      I think the detail that Adam points out is a pretty big one and germane to the story, whereas I believe that your points are of the type that Hattie enjoys indulging in.

      * So were the deaths of Zvi Glatt, Gershon Klein, Yaakov Zimmerman, Eli HaZe’ev, Hanan Krauthammer, and Shmuel Mermelstein due to a “reckless” act by a twitchy PLO “freedom fighter”? Or was it an “extra-judicial execution” for the crime of coming back to Hebron, Judaism’s oldest city, after things were so nicely settled in 1929?

      * Do the “Palestinians” need to apologize for telling the West they accept Israel, but telling their own people that they will never accept Israel?

      * Does the PA owe it to their children to tell the true history of the land, or do you think they should keep teaching them that Jews are interlopers in Judah to be knifed until they run away? Will the PA take responsibility/apologize for this or keep pretending all these people got the idea on their own from contact with Jews and their “dirty feet”?

      * Has the PA or Hamas paid compensation to the many Israeli civilians they have purposefully targeted, shot, knifed, run over, blown up?

      * Do you think that British media outlets have a responsibility to report the constant din of incitement to raw Jew hatred coming from organs of the PA and Hamas, e.g., official PA TV referring to religious Jews praying at the Kotel as “filth,” or would you rather keep chastising Adam for pointing out the lopsided coverage?

      * Do you regard the slicing up of the Fogel Family “social justice”?

      * How much of the financial aid the PA uses to incentivize the murder of Israelis should be paid back to the naive donors who thought they were giving money to achieve peace through negotiations?

  4. The educational materials that Hanan al-Hroub has published online are sound enough from a pedagogic POV and aimed at children who must stay at home and can’t reach the classroom but break no new educational ground whatsoever. Nor is anything “rewarding positive non-violent behaviour”.

    Has anyone located anything by this teacher that really deserves the Nobel Prize for teaching?

      • Tell me Margrain did you ‘copy and paste’ your course work for the Degree you claim to have?
        Is your Degree as phoney as the rest of you?

        • Silly evasive question which has racist overtones. If the vast majority of the world’s 1.6 bn Muslims were not people of colour your point might of well been worth a considered response.

          • Who gives a crap what “colour” your Islamofascists are. When they attack, they need to be destroyed.

              • Nonsensical as Islam calling itself “the religion of peace” which stands in contrast to all the killing Islamist commit all over the world.

                See the raids in Brussels? Are they arresting Mormons or Islamofascists?

                • Islamist extremists, yes. But even then the situation is far more nuanced and complex than a racist moron like you is able to grasp. Have you ever considered, for example, that the violence meted out by people who call themselves Muslims, is more an outward political expression than it is strictly religious outpouring? No, of course you haven’t because you are a bigot.

    • @ FiveMinutesForIsrael (@5MFI) –

      RE: ‘The educational materials that Hanan al-Hroub has published …break no new educational ground whatsoever. Nor is anything “rewarding positive non-violent behaviour”…’

      As far as I can see (@ ) “originality” of teaching ideas was just one of several criteria on which the nominees were judged. The prize was ultimately awarded to Hanan al-Hroub for her all-round dedication and effectiveness as a PRACTICAL educator.

      You might also bear in mind that while a particular pedagogical approach may not be regarded as “innovative” in one society, when adapted and applied in another may represent a significant breakthrough.

      The attempts being made by Adam Levick here and organisations like Israellycool to challenge al-Hroub’s “worthiness” as prizewinner are entirely based on something her husband did 36 years ago, long before they were married – when she was just seven years old for godsake! – and for which he has both paid the penalty and subsequently become a wholehearted supporter of her non-violence advocacy.

      This really is a disgraceful smear campaign – and a distinctly sexist one to boot.

  5. Again, I’m not the subject of this neoZionist propaganda hate site. You are extremely boring.

    • No Margrain whether you like it or not your complete lack of credibility and your inability to answer questions are very relevant.
      Now are you going to answer the questions that have been out to you?

      What is boring is when a phoney such as you thinks they can post, or in your case ‘copy and paste’, unsubstantiated rubbish and no one will notice.

      • By the way Margrain I will stand by the principle that your silence means assent and confirms that your ‘Degree’ is as phoney as the rest of you.

          • Margrain even a brainless half wit such as you should know that the principle of silence being taken for assent is an old principle of English law.
            Never heard of Sir Thomas Moore, have you Margrain?

                • Margrain now you have started to use an ad hominem, your next step is to use profanities, then wish us all goodbye again.

                • I’ll answer it when your racist mate, Edward, finally gets around to answering my question, namely, which of the following fascist organisations’ does he support or is a member of:
                  The JDL, EDL or BNP?

                  • Tell us how any of those organizations have any form of fascism. I dare you. While you are at it why do you support true fascists like Muslims – which fit the definition to the Nth degree

              • “You are a boring hate-filled twat.”
                That is only on my good days, on my bad days I am not as nice as that.

          • “This isn’t an Israeli kangaroo court.”

            Are you suggesting Margrain that in Israel they have special courts just to try kangaroos?
            Why is that are Israeli Kangaroos badly behaved?

  6. RE: “So were the deaths of Zvi Glatt, Gershon Klein, Yaakov Zimmerman, Eli HaZe’ev, Hanan Krauthammer, and Shmuel Mermelstein (… ) an “extra-judicial execution” for the crime of coming back to Hebron, Judaism’s oldest city, after things were so nicely settled in 1929?

    No, and it has also nothing to do with their being Jewish. It was an act of resistance against an illegal and extremely oppresive military occupation spearheaded by fanatical settlers since 1967.

    • Tariku, If Israel were the problem, then Muslims would be getting along with NON-Zionists, NON-Israelis, NON-Jews, NON-“settlers”. Do they?

      Do Muslims get along with Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians and various sects of Islam (sunni, shiite, salifi, sufi, alawite, klingon, vulcan)?

    • So that is why the massacres by Muslims of Jews in Israel happened in Hebron 1519, 1929, and Safed in 1834, 1929, and Jaffa 1921 and Jerusalem 1929.

      Then we have:
      December 1947 – Small kibbutzim were subjected to attacks – Gvulot, Ben-Shemen, Holon, Safed, Bat Yam and Kfar Yavetz. Sixty-two Jews were murdered by Arabs around Palestine.

      December 30, 1947 – 39 Jews were killed by Arab rioters at Haifa’s oil refinery

      January 16, 1948 – 35 Jews were killed trying to reach Gush Etzion

      February 22, 1948 – 44 Jews were murdered in a bombing on Jerusalem’s Rehov Ben-Yehuda

      February 29, 1948 – 23 Jews were killed all across Palestine, eight of them at the Hayotzek iron foundry.

      January and February 1948 – Rishon Lezion, Yehiam, Mishmar Hayarden, Tirat Zvi, Sde Eliahu, Ein Hanatziv, Magdiel, Mitzpe Hagalil and Ma’anit were all subjected to attacks. Arab attackers also bombedThe Palestine Post
      April 13, 1948 – 35 Jew were murdered during the Mount Scopus convoy massacre

      March and April – Assault on Hartuv by 400 Arabs based in the village of Ishwa and an attack on Kfar Darom by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Jewish Agency, the Solel Boneh building in Haifa and an Egged bus were bombed.

      May 15, 1948 – 127 Jews were massacred at Kfar Etzion, after 30 others had died defending the Etzion Bloc.

      During this timespan(November 29, 1947 to May 15, 1948), a total of 1,256 Jews had been killed, most of them civilians. These deaths were caused by Arab militias, gangs, terrorists and army units which attacked every place of Jewish inhabitation in Palestine. During this time, all Jewish villages in the Negev were attacked, and Jews had to go about the country in convoys. In every major city where Jews and Arabs lived in mixed neighborhoods the Jewish areas came under attack. This was true in Haifa’s Hadar Hacarmel as well as Jerusalem’s Old City.

      The above list does not include Jews killed and synagogues burned in Arab countries during the timespan in question. However, it is known thatmore than 100 Jews were massacred and synagogues were burned in Aleppo and Aden, driving thousands of Jews from their homes.

      • Doughnut, read the seminal “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Jewish Israeli historian professor Ilan Pappe, and learn something as opposed to regurgitating neoZionist/Hasbara hate-filled propaganda. There’s a good fascist supporting ethnic cleansing apologist.

        • Margrain back to using ad hominem already.
          I forgot you only condemn the use of ad hominem, when used by others.

          Why don’t you just slink away back to your cess-pit, and ‘copy and paste’ someone else’s work and claim it as your own. You are exposed as a plagiarising, lying, phoney and hypocrite with zero credibility.

          • Responding like with like. Is the Jewish Israeli historian professor Pappe another one of your “antisemites” or do you prefer the “self-hating Jew” epithet?

            • Margrain I put to you a number of questions yesterday. Your response, see above, was “I’ll answer it when your racist mate, Edward, finally gets around to answering my question….”

              Why would I consider answering a question put by a lying, hypocritical, plagiarising, phoney, such as you when you are incapable or unwilling to answer questions that have been put to you?

              Now back into your cess-pit and ‘copy and paste’ someone else’s work and put it on your blog pretending it is your own work.

  7. Is the Jewish Israeli historian professor Pappe another one of your “antisemites” or do you prefer the “self-hating Jew” epithet?

    • Margrain I see you are ‘copy and pasting’ your own questions now.

      I refer you to my reply, above, in my post April 4, 2016 at 12:41 pm.

      • Now Margrain as enjoyable, and frankly very easy, as it is in shredding the bilge you spew out and post on this site I have other, and more important, tasks to do.
        Doubtless like the turd that will not flush you are, you will float back to the surface tomorrow.
        To quote Shakespeare,
        “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”

  8. Is the Jewish Israeli historian professor Pappe another one of your “antisemites” or do you prefer the “self-hating Jew” epithet?

    Answer the question,

        • Fascist Iran loves fascist george gallowsway and gave him a show on PressTV.

          Will you join me in calling for DEATH to Iran – in response for Fascist Iran calling for death to America and Israel?

          • Iran isn’t fascist. If it was it would have done what Israel has consistently done which is to regularly preemptively attack neighbouring countries. So your point is a canard. And no, I won’t be joining you in support of yet another act of Israeli aggression.

            • Migraine, Fascist Iran is Islamo-Fascist. Fascist Iran uses the shiite koran to justify its aggression.

              When Islamofascist terrorists attack Israel, Israel has the Right to Resist and fight back and crush the attackers.

              I won’t be joining you in support of Islamofascism, genocide, human sacrifice.. Islamofascism and its fanbois need to be utterly crushed.

              The threats of Fascist Iran of destroying Israel demonstrate the genocidal intent of Fascist Iran..

              I wish the US had a President who would respond and call for DEATH to IRAN. Hopefully the US will have one soon.

              Certainly a threat of destroying mecca if the US suffers a nuke attack might temper the mad mullahs.

              • Unlike the fascist Israeli state, Iran hasn’t preemptively attacked anybody for hundreds of years, racist moron.

    • Margrain another day and here you are again stamping your feet like a spoiled brat and insisting that your questions must be answered when you will not, or can not, answer questions that are put to you.
      You are not only a phoney and plagiarist without any credibility, but also sad and pathetic.

      Have you thought of getting treatment for your personality disorder?
      You really need to, the sound of laughter you can hear is people laughing at you not with you.

      Now off you toddle go and ‘copy and paste’ something and pretend that you wrote it. Who knows perhaps one day if you get treatment for your personality disorder you might have an original thought.