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Chutzpah: Israel 'appropriates' gold-medal win by Palestinians it expelled Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Chutzpah: Israel 'appropriates' gold-medal win by Palestinians it expelled

Jordan's Olympic gold winner Ahmed Abu Ghaush [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 August, 2016

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What does it take for a Palestinian refugee to become an Israeli? Recent Israeli headlines suggest an Olympic gold medal is what it takes.

While Jordanians and Palestinians celebrated Palestinian martial artist Ahmed Abu Ghaush's gold medal victory during the men’s 68-kg Taekwondo event in Rio on Friday, there were others who were keen to put a spin on the win - which was Jordan's first-ever Olympic gold medal.  
 
"Israeli Town Rejoices as 'Local Boy' Claims Jordan's First Ever Olympic Medal," read Israeli daily Haaretz's headline.

"The Abu Ghaush family immigrated to Jordan from the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghaush, located on the main highway to Jerusalem," read another article, published by the Jewish Press.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Israel's Ynet News said that the "Olympic medalist's grandparents moved from the village to Jordan decades ago".

Away from the Israeli coverage, Arab and Palestinian news outlets were reporting the fact that
Abu Ghaush was himself born in Jordan - a detail that was hidden amid the straw-grasping headlines of the Israeli press.

Reports also emerged from the Palestinian media that the Taekwondo exponent was raised in the al-Nasser Palestinian refugee camp, which is situated near Amman. This fact was of course conveniently omitted from the Israeli coverage, who preferred to trumpet about his grandparents having "moved" or "relocated" from the Palestinian village which is their namesake.

In ordinary circumstances, a family "moving" or "relocating" to sunnier climes wouldn't be such a big deal. In Abu Ghaush's case, however, the likely fact is that his family were of the 750,000 or so Palestinians who were forced both by Israeli violence or pressure to leave their homes after the 1948 war.

The forceful expulsion of Palestinians from the village of Abu Ghaush is recognised in one article on the Olympic victory by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which mentioned how "Abu Ghoush residents were slapped with eviction notices after Israel's independence in 1948 along with Palestinian villages in the area.."

Given the historical context of Abu Ghaush's Olympic victory - both for Palestinians and the state of Jordan, which hosts over 2 million Palestinian refugees - the audacity shown by the Israeli press is astounding.

Or perhaps not so, given that Israel continues day-by-day to appropriate Palestinian food, culture and history - in addition to their land.

Having claimed only two bronze medals at this year's games in Rio, maybe it is understandable why the settler state would want to claim this honour as their own - with a gold-medal display of Israeli chutzpah for good measure.


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