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PHOTOS: Running between the walls in the Palestine Marathon

posted on: Mar 30, 2015

Under the theme “Right to Movement,” about 3,200 participants from all over Palestine—and more than 50 countries around the world—joined the third annual Palestine International Marathon on Friday, which took place in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The marathon aimed to highlight the restriction of Palestinian movement under Israeli military occupation. The route also included Aida refugee camp, where hundreds of Palestinians have lived since the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, before, during and after the 1948 war.

Palestinians and internationals of all ages competed in either 10K, half marathon or full marathon versions of the race. Like every year, runners had to complete two laps of the same route, since organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the city, which is surrounded by the separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli settlements.

Ali Sami, a Palestinian participant, said: “I am happy to see people from around the world here in solidarity with Palestine. It is unique to see this number of internationals at such a local event.”

“It’s good to run for Palestine,” said one Spanish participant. “Every time I see the wall I feel trouble, but I am amazed today to see hope in the Palestinians’ eyes while running around their city.”