More Than 100 Gaza Athletes Barred From Running in Palestinian Marathon

Israel, accusing the Palestinians of submitting applications too late, says it cannot process exit permits in time for the runners to leave Gaza for Friday's race.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Athletes run along the separation barrier as they take part in the Third Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, March 27, 2015.
Athletes run along the separation barrier as they take part in the Third Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, March 27, 2015.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Israel has effectively barred more than 100 Gaza runners from participating in a Palestinian marathon in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, by failing to issue permits for the athletes to leave the coastal territory.

The Palestinian Athletics Union in Gaza and the Palestinian Olympic Committee in Ramallah compiled a list pf potential participants and reported they had submitted it two weeks ago to the Palestinian civil committee in charge of coordinating the permits with Israel.

The Palestinian agency said it had submitted the application bearing 103 names, among them reigning champion and Olympian Nader al-Masri, to The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories on March 24, a week before the athletes needed to depart from Gaza.

But the Coordinator wrote on its Facebook page on Wednesday in Arabic that the Palestinians' civilian affairs coordinating committee had submitted 102 names too late, and therefore the exit requests could not be processed in time.

The Israeli coordinator accused the Palestinians of "trying to create a provocation" against Israel by failing to submit the names in time to be processed.

"Senior Palestinian officials submitted a late application for the runners from Gaza to participate in the Bethlehem race. The request includes 102 runners and it was submitted at a time that doesn’t permit handling the request to permit their participation in the marathon and therefore we cannot handle the application," the Israeli post also said.

It further accused the Palestinians of making 'repeated attempts to make cynical use of athletics.'

The Oslo Accords created parallel coordination bodies for the Palestinians and Israel - the Palestinian coordinating committee subordinate to the civil affairs ministry in Ramallah and an agency of The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, which is an arm of the Defense Ministry.

Gisha, an NGO which monitors both sides, has been approached by the Gaza athletes, and says that many times information is miscommunicated between the sides. The bottom line is that Palestinian civlians suffer, for not knowing the status of their applications or whether they have been received by the appropriate authority and handled, Gisha said.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister