At least 100 young male and female athletes from the Gaza Strip and West Bank took part in a championship in the besieged coastal enclave on Wednesday, Anadolu has reported. The head of the Palestinian Athletics Federation, Mazen Al-Khatib, pointed out that this was the first time that Palestinian athletes from the occupied West Bank have been able to take part in a championship held in Gaza.
"The aim of the championship is to bring athletes from both parts of the country together," said Al-Khatib. "They have been separated from each other by the Israeli occupation measures placed on crossings." He expressed his hope that this can be repeated in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the future.
"The athletes from the Gaza Strip face many difficulties that won't allow them to go to the West Bank," said the Deputy Head of the Palestinian Athletics Federation, Tamer Al-Absi, in a clear reference to the travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians. He noted that the Israeli occupation authorities did not normally allow athletes from the West Bank to go to the Gaza Strip. "What happened on this occasion, though, was a great achievement."
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