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Gaza athlete petitions Israeli court for right to run
Published Thursday 03/04/2014 (updated) 21/04/2014 18:01
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Palestinian athlete Nader al-Masri trains at a stadium in the West Bank
city of Jericho on May 1, 2008 (AFP/File Imad Abu Sombul)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- A Palestinian Olympian from the Gaza Strip said Thursday he had asked Israel's Supreme Court to overturn a ban on him passing through Israel to join a marathon in the occupied West Bank.

Nader al-Masri, who was prevented from participating in the first Bethlehem marathon in 2013, again sought permission to transit the Erez crossing from Gaza to Israel this year and was again refused, he said.

“I applied for a permit to go to Bethlehem through the Erez crossing to take part in the marathon taking place on April 11, but unfortunately I was informed last Friday that Israel rejected my application," he said.

Gisha, an Israeli watchdog that works to facilitate Palestinian freedom of movement, said it took up Masri's case.

"Our petition to the Supreme Court ... was served this morning," it said.

The spokesman for the Israeli defense ministry unit responsible for coordinating civilian affairs with the Palestinians could not immediately be reached for comment, but Gisha published the unit's written response to its application on Masri's behalf.

"At the present time, in view of the current diplomatic-security situation, the entry of residents of the Gaza Strip to Israel is not allowed except in exceptional humanitarian cases, with emphasis on urgent medical cases," it said.

Gisha says Israeli rules do allow Gazans to attend West Bank "special events sponsored by the (Western-backed) Palestinian Authority."

In this case, it said, "the Olympic Committee of the Palestinian Authority invited Masri to take part."

Masri, who finished last in his 5,000 meters heat at the 2008 Beijing Games, said that joining runners from the West Bank was deeply important to him.

"This marathon is important to me, it will be the first time I can take part in the Palestinian marathon and meet friends I only talk to on the phone," he said.

"I have crossed Erez numerous times. I am a Palestinian athlete and I have won several awards. I have nothing to do with politics and I do not know why Israel denied me a permit."
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1 ) Go to egypt then to Jordan / and then to
03/04/2014 22:53
West Bank thru Alenbi what is the problem?????

2 ) Zionists are satanic / UK
04/04/2014 10:50
Israel's fear of humanity and life is sickening

3 ) Outlier / USA
05/04/2014 19:29
As there is an alternative route to the event, it is not Israel's problem.

4 ) The problem / World
08/04/2014 23:52
#1: the problem, first, is to get through to Egypt. The second problem is to get through the Allenbly, which is controlled by Israelis, and if the Israelis refused the entry (as written in the article), the problem should be clear to every reader, right? Some people doesn't seem to understand, that even if you do not want to go to Israel, but just to West Bank, you still need Israel to give you a permission.

5 ) Carlos / usa
06/05/2014 16:08
The imbecility of israeli comment is so apparent. It would be hundreds of miles of travel to go through Egypt to Jordan to Allenby bridge. It is many times shorter to travel directly to Ramallah. If they took the Egypt Jordan route, once he gets to the Allenby bridge why would israel let him in if they woudl not let him out of Gaza? israel leadership purposefully destroys the lives of Palestinians to force ethnic cleasing. israel is terror murder and lies.
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