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Palestinians race to disrupt Israeli marathon

March 1, 2013 11:35 A.M. (Updated: March 3, 2013 9:15 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli police on Friday stopped a Palestinian protest "marathon" organized against an Israeli event that takes place annually in occupied Jerusalem.

Palestinian racers started off in the historic Lifta village to counter the Israeli marathon that began from the Knesset building, said Dimitri Diliani, a senior Fatah official.

Diliani told Ma'an that “Palestinian youths participating at the marathon handed the Israelis a formal paper written in English explaining what this marathon really means for Jerusalem.

“A few Israelis who didn’t know the truth behind this marathon actually left,” he said.

The official added that Israeli police attacked Palestinians participating in the protest marathon and detained them for an hour, but the activists turned the detention into a new protest.

“The guys turned it into a sit-in (demonstration) and left Palestinian flags calling for Israelis to wake up and learn the meaning of their marathon,” said Diliani.

The goal, Diliani added, was to counter the occupation’s "plans of ethnic cleansing."

“I’m proud to say that despite all Israeli restrictions and detentions, the Palestinian marathon succeeded in its mission,” he said.

Boycott calls

Palestinian officials had already called on companies and individuals involved in Friday's marathon to withdraw their support for the event, which includes areas of occupied East Jerusalem.

Becoming involved in the event risks being "complicit in covering up Israel’s grave human rights abuses in its occupation of the State of Palestine," three Palestinian sports agencies said in a joint statement.

The Higher Council of Youth and Sports in Palestine, the Palestine Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Athletics Federation called on all participants and sponsors of the marathon to reconsider.

"This marathon is part and parcel of other Israeli policies and practices in Jerusalem that are aimed at exerting Israeli control over the occupied city and isolate it from the rest of Palestine," they said.
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