Israeli court bars Gaza runner from race

Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Israel Defense Forces to bar a Palestinian runner from Gaza from participating in a marathon in the West Bank.

In the case of Nader Masri, a 2008 Olympian, the court ruled April 8 that it could not overrule a military decision. But the court also recommended that Israel consider allowing Masri to leave Gaza to participate in the race, scheduled for Friday, April 11 in Bethlehem.

“It is hoped, of course, that in the future the security situation will improve that will allow an easing of such restrictions,” Judge Daphne Barak-Erez wrote in her decision.

Masri, 34, represented “Palestine” in the Beijing Olympics and has represented the Palestinian Authority in several international competitions. He turned to Israel’s high court through the Israeli human rights group Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

“I am a Palestinian athlete and I have won several awards,” he told Ynet. “I have nothing to do with politics and I do not know why Israel denied me a permit.” — jta