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You might think that after running from the North Pole to the South Pole in 2012, a 1500-K run would be easy.
But Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer found out that nothing is simple when Israel is involved.
His Middle East Peace Run, supported by the Australian government, went through Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank ending at Jaffa Gate,
in Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday, May 19th.
As he joked at his press conferences at Jaffa Gate and later at the King David Hotel, he was glad that no one shot him along the way.
But he did run into some trouble.
Besides his support team from Australia, various local runners accompanied Farmer on sections of the run.
However, several Israeli runners who joined Farmer on Route #60 were asked to leave after doing only 1 kilometer. I asked one of the race organizers why this happened and was told it was for “security reasons.”
One of the stopped Israeli runners, Ari Briggs shared with me on Facebook:
I believe the only security concern that existed was what would have happened to those Palestinians if someone found out they ran together with Jews in a Peace Run. A very sad state of affairs.”
Further, he added:
Sharon, Danny had also asked me to remove my post on FB I put up with Photos until Pat left Ramallah because he said he was concerned for Pat’s wellbeing. I am going to return it now.”
Pat Farmer’s aim was to promote peace and tolerance in the Middle East.
I sure hope Farmer’s support crew, who were busy filming the speeches at Jaffa Gate
took time to notice, not just the Arab girls,
but also the Israel soldier and Arab boys who wandered through the plaza during their event.
Those were true scenes of tolerance.
Meanwhile, people living under the Palestinian Authority rule are afraid and against any “normalization.”
Something as simple at running a few kilometers on the same road together is not allowed.
That is the roadblock for peace.