Palestinians called Tuesday for a boycott of a marathon race in Jerusalem that winds through the city’s eastern sector, which the Palestinians claim as their capital.
The third annual Jerusalem marathon is set to take place Friday, March 1. Previous races have drawn thousands of runners from around the world and attracted international brands as sponsors.
In a statement Tuesday, the Palestine Liberation Organization called on marathon participants and sponsors to withdraw their support.
It stated the marathon was another Israeli policy “aimed at exerting Israeli control over the occupied city.” A spokesman for Jerusalem’s municipality counters that the marathon is a “symbol of co-existence.”
Some 17,000 runners are expected to run the 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) through the city, in an event mayor Nir Barkat called “a brand-name marathon.”
A recent article in UK “Women’s Running Magazine” named the Jerusalem Marathon as one of the world’s 10 best spring marathons. Barkat said he would be running the half-marathon this year, while his wife would be running the 10k.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War war, annexed it and considers the whole city its capital. Israel’s claim is not recognized internationally.