Israel has refused to grant permission to 26 runners from the Gaza Strip - including Olympic runner Nader al-Masri - to travel to the West Bank for Sunday's first-ever “Right to Movement Palestine Marathon,” scheduled to start and end in Bethlehem and run through at least two refugee camps. The race was organized by the non-profit Right to Movement, which "aims to move things and people (and) focus on the basic right of freedom of movement" – this time, in Palestine, where restriction on movement is one of the major challenges under occupation, and where organizers sought to "tell a different story than the one of conflict and hate" if they could just find the 42 KMs needed for a marathon. This is the second time in a month that the Gazans were refused a chance to run: Hamas recently cancelled the U.N.'s annual Gaza marathon because they did not want women and men running together. Sorry: This week, of all weeks, this story is even sadder than usual.
"Having the right to move means that you have the choice, possibility and right to move from A to B at any time and for any reason. The right to movement is a basic human right as stipulated in Article 13 of the UN Human Rights Charter."
Nader al-Masri in last year's Gaza marathon.