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Female Palestinian karate team comes up against Israeli travel restrictions

Israeli travel restrictions affects a women's karate team in Gaza to play their sport internationally

A Gaza womens’ karate team has to overcome Israeli travel restrictions on the enclave as well has their own tough physical training schedules if they want to compete in the international arena, Reuters reports.

The 10 sportswomen, who are successful in local championships, are trained by team coach Has er-Rai who said the women face many challenges in their sport, one of them being the difficulty in obtaining travel visas to enable them to play their sport internationally.

“We believe that Palestinian women are strong women. Our women must defend themselves well,” Coach Rai said.

“I started karate 3 years ago. My self-confidence has increased. This sport gives us strength,” said one of the players, 19-year-old Yasmin Zekut.

Karate began in Palestine after the establishment of a federation in 1973 in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. Following the “Oslo Peace Agreement” signed in 1993 between the Israeli government and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) led by Yasir Arafat, it began to be practiced as a sport in Palestine.

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