Tuesday, March 05, 2013

UNRWA Cancels Gaza Marathon After Hamas Bars Female Runners

Gaza was set for its third annual international marathon on April 10th. Hosted by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the near east (UNRWA), some 807 people were readying to participate.
551 locals and 256 international runners. Of that number, 385 are female – 266 from Gaza and 119 from overseas. [snip] Another 1,600 schoolchildren, girls and boys, were also to have joined the race.
That is, until the neanderthals in Hamas decided that this year (unlike the past two) no women over the age of 16 would be allowed to participate. So, UNRWA opted to cancel the whole thing.

In a statement on UNRWA's website:

UNRWA regrets to announce that it has cancelled the third Gaza marathon which was to be held on 10 April. This follows the decision by the authorities in Gaza not to allow women to participate.

Registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are welcome and UNRWA is working on a programme of other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.

UNRWA is disappointed with this decision, and sincerely regrets the inconvenience this may cause to those who planned to participate in the marathon.

The ones who will suffer are the children, as they oft do in those countries.
For the past three years, the annual UNRWA Gaza Marathon has raised funds for UNRWA’s summer programme for children in Gaza. In the past, local parents have praised the initiative as a welcome break from the difficulties of life in Gaza. 
But Palestinians don't seem to care too much about their offspring, other than grooming them to be suicide bombers, so this probably doesn't really matter.

Hamas probably thought UNRWA would cave and allow the race to continue, but thankfully they did not, at least for now.  Who knows if they will eventually relent, since they did mention something about working on some kind of alternative.

Of the decision to cancel, cabinet secretary of Hamas- Abdessalam Siyyam told AFP:

"We regret this decision to cancel the marathon but we don't want men and women running together."
"We did not tell UNRWA to cancel the marathon and we haven't prevented it, but we laid down some conditions: We don't want women and men mixing in the same place."

Oh well. Too bad.

Source:, UNRWA

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