After Palestinian Ahmed Abu Ghosh won Jordan’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in Rio on Friday for the men’s 68-kg Taekwondo event, claims that the athlete’s roots in the Jerusalem area are “Israeli,” and that his family “relocated” or “moved” to Jordan decades ago have followed.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported the Olympian’s heritage as from an “Israeli-Arab village,” while i24 referred to the Palestinian hamlet as an “Arab majority town.”
“The Olympic medalist’s grandparents moved from the village to Jordan decades ago,” reported Israel’s Ynet News.
Haaretz wrote, “The gold-medalist’s grandparents relocated from Abu Gosh decades ago to Jordan.”
Abu Ghosh was born in Jordan, but his grandparents hailed from a Palestinian village that is their namesake, Abu Ghosh. The town’s local council was not immediately available to confirm the circumstances in which the medalist’s family left. But “relocated”? It is likely they were refugees among the 750,000 Palestinians who were expelled or fled during Israel’s 1948 war.
Palestinian outlets reported that Abu Ghosh was raised in a refugee camp for Palestinians, al-Nasser, near Jordan’s capital. But this detail of his family’s displacement was omitted from Israeli news coverage.
“Great joy today in jordan. first ever gold medal by Ahmed Abu Gosh who’s family is from Isreali Village Abu Ghosh [sic],” tweeted Ohad Horsandi, a former Israeli spokesperson in Delhi, applauding the Jordanian win.
One Palestinian official took to social media to lash out at the presentation of the Olympian’s family history.
“I’ve noticed that several Israeli media outlets and Hasbara surrogates are in denial that Ahmad Abugaush is Palestinian in origin and hails from the village of Abu Ghosh, West of Jerusalem…I mean now they had stolen the land and appropriated the ‘Khuumus’ they also want to claim the gold medal?” spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority Jamal Dajani wrote on Facebook.
See Abu Ghosh’s winning moment: