By KEDIBONE MOLAETSI
Minister of Sports and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi will welcome a group of visiting Palestinian marathon runners and sports delegates at BDS South Africa offices in Braamfontein on Monday at 6pm. The Palestinian runners are in South Africa to participate in the upcoming Two Oceans Marathon.
BDS South Africa said the visiting Palestinian marathon runners are part of a Palestinian group called “Right 2 Movement” (RTM) that founded the annual Palestine Marathon.
“The Palestine Marathon, held since 2012, takes place in the Holy Town of Bethlehem in Palestine with over 6000 runners (including an over 50 percent female participation, more than 500 people with disabilities and with runners and teams from more than 65 countries across the world).
“The symbolic event is a 42km (26-mile) sports activity in protest against Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement. It kicks off at Manger Square by the Church of the Nativity in the old area of Bethlehem and runs the length of the city.”
The organization further said the route also includes running through two Palestinian refugee camps and along Israel’s 8 meter high Apartheid wall. Palestinians have explained how participation in the marathon is a non-violent demonstration and a way to show that “we are here, and this is our land, and we have right to move.
Last year RTM also carried out a remarkable event during Christmas in the Holy Town of Bethlehem. The event, titled “Mary Can’t Move”, saw 24 Palestinian runners dressed as Mary & Joseph, showcasing the same path Mary & Joseph took 2016 years ago but now with Israeli restrictions and obstacles.