Israeli ‘Biblical Marathon’ shuts down main West Bank road connecting Ramallah and Nablus, ‘is part of an apartheid policy,’ says Abdullah Abu Rahmeh.
Several dozen Palestinians demonstrated against the closure of the West Bank’s main traffic artery due to an Israeli “biblical” marathon on Thursday. Road 60, which connects the major Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus, was closed to traffic from 5:30 a.m. until shortly before noon.
Marathons are generally held on Sundays, and on Fridays in Israel, in order to minimize the interruption to commutes and commerce on the roads. While Thursday is a half-day for most Israelis because it is the eve of a holiday, it is a regular work day for Palestinians.
Israeli soldiers prevented the Palestinian activists from approaching the marathon itself and they protested near the village of Turmus Aya. The “Biblical Marathon’s” organizers, which includes a number of government bodies, billed it as an historic recreation of the first-ever marathon in the world.
“Everything the army and the settlers do in the occupied territories is part of an apartheid policy, and we cannot accept the fact that they are shutting down a major road,” said Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, one of the protest organizers, adding that the demonstration was held under the banner of freedom of movement.
Two weeks ago the third-annual Palestine Marathon took place in Bethlehem. Runners in the Palestine Marathon were forced to essentially run laps on a track made of city streets because organizers were unable to find an uninterrupted 42-kilometer (26 mile) mile stretch of road under Palestinian control.