TEL AVIV – The Palestinian swimmer selected to compete in the Rio Olympics lied when she told the world that she was unable to train properly since there were no Olympic-size pools in the Palestinian territories and the Israeli “occupation” had cut off her access to such facilities.
In fact, as Tablet Magazine points out, the Palestinian territories boast several Olympic-size pools. There’s one in Gaza, built “with some of the leftover cement Hamas could spare after squandering billions on its terror tunnels,” the report said. Another exists in the West Bank town of Nablus. And there’s even an Olympic-size pool in Beit Sakhour, the very town that the athlete, Mary al-Atrash, hails from.
Furthermore, the report pointed out that had the 22-year-old al-Atrash applied for a permit to train in Israeli pools, her request would have likely been granted. Last month, the Israeli government office for coordinating activities in the West Bank, or COGAT, issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that al-Atrash had refused to apply for such a permit but wished her the best of luck anyway.
It is also worth noting that in order to qualify for the swimmers’ category, athletes only need a regulation-sized pool, rendering al-Atrash’s complaint moot. In any case, al-Atrash, who trained in a semi-Olympic pool in the Palestinian territories, did not qualify for the Olympics because her best time fell a few seconds short of the required 25.28 seconds. Nevertheless, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported, al-Atrash was invited to Rio through a unique Olympic program that exempts athletes from nations with an underdeveloped sports framework who do not meet the qualifying criteria.
This year, Rio honored the victims of the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. In 2010, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter of condolences to the family of the late Abu Daoud, the mastermind of those attacks, calling him “a wonderful brother and companion.”
Coinciding with the start of the Rio Olympics, Abbas’ Fatah party listed one of its main achievements as having “killed 11,000 Israelis.”
As Tablet Magazine notes, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority might have done more for al-Atrash and other Palestinian athletes by spending as much money on sports facilities as they do rewarding the families of terrorists.