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 Bethlehem but nevertheless recommended that he be allowed to participate in the race.
Olympian Nader Masri, 34, had asked Israel’s military for permission to travel to the second Bethlehem marathon that is to be held Friday.
Following a rejection from the military, Masri, with the help of the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, known as Gisha, appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled on Tuesday that it could not overrule a military decision. However, as Israeli courts often do, it injected its own quasi-legal opinion and recommended that Israel consider allowing the runner to leave to participate in the race.
“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 has represented the Palestinian Authority in several international competitions, including in Ireland, Portugal, Belgium and Doha. He represented “Palestine” in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.