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Sunday, August 07, 2016

'Palestinian' swimmer who had 'no access' to an Olympic-sized swimming pool actually qualified in one

At the Olympics, the international media introduced Mary al-Atrash, a 22-year old 'Palestinian' who was invited to the Olympics under a program that lets in a limited number of athletes from countries in which no one meets qualifying time (her times do not qualify). The media was quick to point out that there is no Olympic-sized swimming pool in 'Palestine' in which al-Atrash could practice. That's a lie.
If we were blessed with journalists who had the ability to use advanced research tools like the Internet, we might’ve benefited from knowing that the Israeli government office for coordinating activities in the West Bank, or COGAT, issued a statement last month on its Facebook page, making it clear that it would’ve gladly considered accommodating al-Atrash had she bothered applying for a permit to train in Jerusalem—which, like Palestinian athletes before her, she refused to do—and wishing her the best of luck anyway. It might’ve also been helpful to note that plenty of athletes around the world, including here in the United States, train, like al-Atrash, in semi-Olympic 25 meter pools, and that to qualify for the Olympics al-Atrash had to have qualified in a regulation-sized pool, which makes the whole access question a rather minor one. But never mind all that, because the Palestinian Territories, you see, have not one Olympic pool but several.
There’s this luxurious one in Gaza, built, maybe, with some of the leftover cement Hamas could spare after squandering billions on its terror tunnels; there’s one in Nablus; and when I called the folks over at the Murad resort in al-Atrash’s native Beit Sakhour, they assured me that their pool, too, was properly Olympically endowed. Water water everywhere, then, and not a drop for swimming.
That's al-Atrash about to jump into the pool in Beit Sakhour. Here's another picture of her in the pool; I leave it to the reader to decide whether the claim that the pool is Olympic-sized (50 meters across) is credible. It sure looks like it.

Perhaps the source for the lie is here.

In any event, given that the original lie was told as part of the Olympic opening ceremony broadcast, which was watched by millions, and the correction - if it is ever made - will likely be watched by far fewer, the lie told by the media will be the broadcast media of a headline on page 1 of a newspaper being corrected by a small note on page 37.

The lie will continue to be touted. Goebbels would be proud.

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