Thursday, May 26th | 26 Iyyar 5782

March 5, 2013 9:23 am

Gaza Marathon Canceled After Hamas Objects to Women Participating

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Photo:

The United Nations’ aid agency for the Palestinians, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), has said it will cancel the upcoming Gaza marathon because Hamas authorities will not allow women to compete, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“UNRWA regrets to announce that it has had to cancel the third UNRWA marathon which was to be held on 10 April. This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza who have insisted that no women should participate,” said a statement from the agency.

The 3rd annual Gaza marathon was organized by UNRWA to raise money for children in Gaza. UNRWA was established by the United Nations in 1949 and provides a number of social services to over five million Palestinians and their descendants who were displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most of UNRWA’s funding is provided through donations by Western nations due to the refusal by many Arab countries to resettle the Palestinians.

Hamas, a terrorist organization which has ruled the Gaza Strip since a bloody coup against its Palestinian rival Fatah in 2007, has increasingly implemented strict Islamic laws in the coastal enclave, including bans on alcohol and restrictions on women.

Israel’s capital Jerusalem held its 2nd annual marathon last week with Ethiopian runners taking the top spots for the men and women’s times.

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