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Report: Jerusalem marathon changes course

Jan. 2, 2011 9:26 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 3, 2011 5:34 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Sportswear company Adidas forced the Jerusalem Municipality to reroute a planned marathon to avoid occupied Palestinian neighborhoods, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv said Adidas threatened to withdraw sponsorship from the event after the company was lobbied by human rights organizations.

The newspaper reported that several organizations threatened to boycott the company over the issue.

The report said the March race would be held within the Green Line, in what Ma'ariv described as a submission to Adidas.

Three municipal council members wrote to Adidas in December urging the sportswear retailer to withdraw sponsorship unless the route was changed.

"The path of the marathon is due to run through parts of east Jerusalem that are considered occupied territory by the international community and by us. For that reason, we object to the marathon as it is now planned," the letter read.

"We strongly encourage you to join in asking that the route of the marathon fit the boundaries of pre-1967 Jerusalem until the thorny issue of the city's boundaries is set, in the framework of an international agreement."

Meretz councillor Yosef Pepe Alalu, one of the signatories of the letter, said the new route was an improvement, the report said.

The Jerusalem Municipality said it had not submitted to pressure, and insisted the route was originally planned to pass only through West Jerusalem, Ma'ariv said.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

AFP contributed to this report
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