It was the kind of bitter irony that so characterizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian primary school teacher Hanan al-Hroub was very rightly recognized for educating for peace, even as fellow Palestinians celebrated her victory with calls to war.
Al-Hroub, a native of Bethlehem, was on Sunday announced as the winner of the Global Teacher of the Year award for her development of teaching methods encouraging students exposed to conflict to engage in dialogue and seek coexistence, rather than perpetuate violence.
Al-Hroub was introduced by Pope Francis (in a video message) and was handed the winning check of USD $1 million by the ruler of Dubai, where the award ceremony was held.
In accepting the award, Al-Hroub repeated her mantra of “No to violence,” and told the Associated Press that “hand in hand we can effect change and provide a safe education to provide peace.”
Unfortunately, fellow Palestinians in the audience had a different message to convey in celebrating the memorable occasion.
Waving Palestinian flags and pumping their fists in the air, al-Hroub’s compatriots shouted, “With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you, Palestine” – a common call to violence against Israel.