Marathon body bans Israeli race in occupied West Bank

Marathon body bans Israeli race in occupied West Bank
1 min read
16 September, 2017
The Greek-based Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) said it had to exclude the Israeli marathon to comply with "international public law".
The West Bank is considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law. [Getty]

Israel on Thursday protested a decision by the international marathon body to ban an Israeli race which passes through the occupied West Bank.

The route of next month's planned Bible Marathon stretches from central Israel to the illegal settlement of Shiloh in the northern West Bank, claiming to trace a path described in the Book of Samuel.

The Greek-based Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) said it had to exclude the Israeli marathon to comply with "international public law".

The international community considers East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank occupied Palestinian territory under international law, although Israeli disputes this.

The Israel Marathon Association said the ban was prompted by a "campaign organized by political activists", calling the decision "discriminatory".

In a letter to AIMS the Israel Marathon Association asked for the Bible Marathon's membership in the international body to be restored.

Palestinian officials and activists have long called for a boycott of Israeli races in the occupied territories, arguing that such events normalise Israel's illegal occupation.

The Jerusalem Marathon, which sees runners pass through the occupied eastern sector, including the Old City, has long been a target of such calls.