Thousands of runners from around the world took part in a marathon held in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday in a bid to draw the international community's attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people.
About 6,000 people from 47 countries including Turkey, the US and UK, participated in the 5th annual Palestine Marathon, the event's spokesman Ahmad al Ali said.
Another 500 people with disabilities also took part, he said.
Held under the banner of “Freedom of Movement,” the marathon kicked off at Bethlehem’s historic Church of the Nativity from where participants ran alongside Israel’s West Bank separation barrier and through eastern Bethlehem’s Aida Palestinian refugee camp.
Samer Amerih, a 32-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem, came to run with five of his relatives.
“It’s a great opportunity for Palestinians to bring attention to the freedom of movement violations they regularly face due to Israel’s separation wall and army checkpoints,” he said.
Chipo Mupande, a 42-year-old South African national arrived in Palestine a few days ago to participate in this year’s marathon.
“I’m here to support the Palestinian cause against the apartheid regime practised by Israel against the Palestinian people,” she said.
“I’m here -- along with my husband -- to say ‘no’ to the [Israeli] occupation and ‘yes’ to freedom for Palestine."