Gaza Athlete Nader al-Masri, a Palestinian Olympian, petitioned the Israeli court to run in a Bethlehem marathon this year. Being an Olympian this request should have been easily granted because running is this mans life, it’s what he does. But nonetheless his petition was denied for the second year in a row.
“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.
The Israeli defense ministry unit responded via letter stating, “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 seems to me that they are trying to dodge the real matter at hand. The solution is simple, let this Gaza athlete do what God intended run, run like the wind.
Gisha, a non-profit organization who protects the freedom of movement of Palestinians and promotes rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law, says that there are rules that allow Gazans to attend special events sponsored by the Palestinian Authority.
Masri the Gaza athlete was invited by “the Olympic committee of the Palestinian Authority to take part.” He was looking forward to competing in the marathon. He told reporters, “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”. Sounds like the Israeli Make-A-Wish Foundation needs to get together and make this mans dream come true.
It feels like things are starting to heat up in the Middle-East or maybe they never cooled down. Either way you have to feel for this guy. All he wants to do is run.
He ended the interview with reporters saying, ” 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.”