PLO demands boycott of Jerusalem marathon

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The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Wednesday, called for runners and sponsors to boycott the 2013 Jerusalem Marathon, according to Israel National News.

The PLO said that involvement in the marathon will imply acceptance of Israel’s illegal annexation of eastern Jerusalem.

AFP reported that the PLO urged “all participants and sponsors of the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon to withdraw their sponsorship and participation or else become complicit in covering up Israel’s grave human rights abuses in its occupation of the State of Palestine.”

The race which is set to take place on Friday will be attended by thousands of runners who will take part in either the full 42-kilometer marathon, half marathon or the 10 kilometer dash.

The Palestine Olympic Committee, Palestinian Athletics Federation and the Higher Council of Youth and Sport said in a joint statement that the course demonstrated the “racist policies” of the Israeli government which was moving the runners from west to east as though the city were truly united.

According to AFP the statement said that “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 isolating it from the rest of Palestine.

Sponsoring or participating in the marathon implies recognition and active participation by the individual or company in Israel’s illegal annexation and racist policies in Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned Israel not to use the race to “Judaize” the city as it presented itself as a “unified capital of Israel.”

Ahmed Qureia, the chairman of the PLO's action committee, warned Israel to ensure that the marathon runners stay away from the Temple Mount, where the al-Aqsa mosque is located.

Qureia added that “as it has in the past, Israel was using the event to promote an image of a unified, Jewish city. This has been Israel’s strategy since 1967, and it has resulted in land confiscations and expulsions of Palestinians.”

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