Marathon canceled as Hamas bans women

Updated 06 March 2013
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Marathon canceled as Hamas bans women

GAZA: The main UN agency in Gaza has canceled the annual marathon in the small Palestinian territory after ruling Hamas banned women from the race.
Hamas said having women in the annual event, scheduled for April 10, contravened Islamic tradition.
“This disappointing decision follows discussions with the authorities in Gaza, who have insisted that no women should participate,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which sponsors the race, said in a statement.
This year’s field of 1,500 schoolchildren and 800 adults was to have included a record number of women — 260 Palestinians and 119 foreigners, UNRWA said. The children’s participation is symbolic — they begin the race but run only a few hundred meters, while the adults do the full 42 km.
“The marathon was an annual event to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to raise funds for summer camps organized by UNRWA which serve at least 250,000 schoolchildren,” said Adnan Abu Hasna, the agency’s media adviser in Gaza.
Relations between UNRWA and Hamas have been strained at times.
Some Hamas officials have accused UNRWA of failing to include representatives of the Gaza government when UNRWA has hosted meetings with international visitors. Several Hamas lawmakers have been critical of the curriculum in UNRWA-run schools.
Founded in 1949, UNRWA provides food and other emergency assistance to more than two-thirds of the 1.6 million population in the cramped, coastal territory.
Ayman Abdullah, 16, who took part in last year’s race, said he was disappointed that the race had been called off, saying it was “an expression of freedom and which showed that we in Gaza are a civilized people.”


Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

Updated 26 April 2018
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Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.

The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”

The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”

In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.

The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.

The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.

They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”

They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.

Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.