Israel has barred 30 runners, including an Olympic athlete, from leaving the Gaza Strip to participate in a marathon later this week.
In the case of the Olympic runner, Nader Masri, the travel ban was upheld on Tuesday by Israel’s Supreme Court.
Masri, 34, participated in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Separately, 36 young musicians requested to leave Gaza for a week-long music competition in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, but were also denied permission, organisers say. An Israeli defence official said a final decision has not been made. The competition begins on Wednesday.
The cases underscored Israel’s restrictions on Gaza, which human rights activists argue amount to collective punishment and are often arbitrary.
They say the travel ban is part of an Israeli attempt to sever ties between Gaza and the West Bank, territories that lie on opposite ends of Israel and are sought by the Palestinians for a future state, along with east Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Olympic Committee says it has asked Israel for permits for the 30 runners to leave Gaza so they can attend the second annual international marathon in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday.
Itidal al-Mugrabi, a senior official in the committee, said all requests were denied last month.
She said the Bethlehem event, which will also include shorter races, was expected to draw some 700 runners from Europe in addition to local athletes.
After being denied a permit, Masri approached the Israeli rights group Gisha, which appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court.
The judges ruled on Tuesday that they couldn’t intervene in the defence minister’s policy considerations, but suggested the military consider more exemptions from the travel ban.