Israel denies permits to Gazans for Palestine Marathon
Israel has denied entry permits to over a hundred Palestinians from the Gaza Strip seeking to take part in the Palestine Marathon after an administrative dispute, officials said Thursday.
Among the Gazans prevented from travelling ahead of Friday's marathon in the West Bank was reigning champion and Olympian Nader al-Masri.
COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry body responsible for implementing government policies in the Palestinian Authority territories, said the forms for 102 runners from Gaza were "submitted in too short notice and given a time frame which is not the adequate amount of time for dealing with such requests."
George Zeidan, one of the organizers of the "Right to Movement" marathon, told AFP an initial list of 750 names was rejected. When a shorter one was sent it was then refused for being too late, he added.
The marathon takes place on Friday and will see thousands of people start running from near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
The Gisha NGO, which campaigns for freedom of movement for Palestinians, said civilians had been caught in an administrative dispute.
"We are disappointed, if not surprised, to hear that civilians in Gaza are again paying the price for the apparent negligence and disregard of both Israeli and Palestinian officials," a statement said.
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Bethlehem isn't in Israel, James .... more proof that you're losing it.
why should Israel allow residents from enemy territory access into bethlehem via its own country? they can go via jordan