Palestinians hold Bethlehem Marathon to protest Israeli restrictions
Palestine Marathon logo
More than 3,000 people took part in the third annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem on Friday, an event intended to draw attention to Israeli restrictions on movement in the West Bank.
The race starts and finishes at the Church of the Nativity, where many Christians believe Jesus was born. It is one of the oldest churches in the world.
The race will pass through two refugee camps and alongside the massive fence and wall structure Israel has built through the West Bank.
Israel says the wall is for security purposes, but Palestinians argue it represents a land grab. The International Court of Justice has deemed illegal the sections of the barrier inside the West Bank.
Palestinian freedom of movement "continues to be severely restricted under Israel's prolonged military occupation," said UN Resident Coordinator to the Palestinian territories, James Rawley.
The UN official said Israel's military checkpoints were also having a "devastating impact on Palestinians' lives."
Some 500 foreign nationals, many from Europe, are taking part in the race.