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Convicted Palestinian Terrorist’s Wife to Speak at Clinton Global Initiative Dinner

Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, left, holds her trophy along with the Palestinian Education Minister Dr. Sabri Saidam during a welcome ceremony in the West Bank city Jericho, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 / AP
• September 20, 2016 11:53 am

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Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub, who is scheduled to speak at a Clinton Global Initiative dinner on Tuesday, is receiving backlash from Republicans because her husband was convicted of participating in a terrorist attack in 1980 that killed six Israelis.

Al-Hroub’s husband, Omar al-Hroub, was convicted for being an accomplice to a 1980 bombing that killed six Israelis who were walking home from Sabbath prayers on a Friday night. At the time, Omar was a chemist and helped provide chemicals to make the explosives. He went on to serve as a senior Palestinian official, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

After serving a 10-year sentence, Mr. al-Hroub accepted the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord with Israel, served as a deputy Cabinet minister in the Palestinian Authority, and supports a two-state solution with Israel, according to an Associated Press story quoting Qadura Faris, director of the Palestinian prisoners’ association. Mr. al-Hroub is a senior Palestinian official who is close to President Mahmoud Abbas and "believes in his peaceful approach," Mr. Faris told the AP.

The Republican National Committee said it is insensitive for the CGI to feature Hanan al-Hroub at its dinner while New York law enforcement is investigating a New Jersey man for trying to bomb the surrounding area.

"In the wake of this weekend’s attacks, granting a platform to the spouse of a terrorist bomb-maker just miles away from where explosives were detonated days ago is an insult to the victims and makes a mockery of the Clinton Foundation," said Raj Shah, the RNC’s deputy communications director.

When asked for comment, the Clinton Foundation responded by using a statement from one of its megadonors, Israeli-American entertainment mogul Haim Saban, the Journal reported.

"Hanan al-Hroub is a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is very dear to me and in desperate need of more hope," Saban said. "I only wish more people honored her and the cause that she embodies."

Despite al-Hroub being one of the keynote speakers for the CGI dinner on Tuesday, her speech and name are not listed on the Clinton Foundation website, despite her winning the $1 million Global Teacher Prize from the Varkey Foundation this year. The Varkey Foundation has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, the Journal noted.

The Varkey Foundation is the charitable arm of GEMS Education, a global for-profit K-12 education company that has paid Bill Clinton about $6.2 million since 2010 for consulting work, according to the tax returns released by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.

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The award by the Varkey Foundation, named for the Varkey family that owns GEMS Education, recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the profession.

A Clinton Foundation spokesman also noted that the award to Ms. al-Hroub was announced via video by Pope Francis and afterward she was congratulated by Vice President Joe Biden, Prince William, and Bill Gates.