Israel’s high court has upheld a decision by the military to prevent a Gaza Olympian from leaving the coastal strip to participate in a marathon in the West Bank.

Nader Masri

Nader Masri

Israel has severely restricted the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza since the Islamic militants Hamas took control there in 2007. The closure policy is also enforced by Gaza’s neighbour Egypt.

Tuesday’s ruling ends the hopes of 34-year-old Nader Masri participating in Friday’s marathon in biblical Bethlehem.

Masri, who participated in the 2008 Olympics, says he is disappointed because he hoped to compete against runners outside Gaza.

Israel says only humanitarian hardship cases are allowed to leave Gaza.

The judges said they cannot interfere in the military’s decisions but that it should consider easing the travel ban.