"It's difficult because of the lack of resources for us here. It will be very difficult to win a medal," Atrash said.
There is no Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Palestinian territories that Palestinians are allowed to use, so Atrash practises at the YMCA in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem. The pool is 25 metres long, half the length of the facility she'll compete in at Rio.
'Harder to practise'
Most Palestinians are unable to travel into Israel, where sports facilities are larger and more modern, because of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Because of all the difficulties that Palestinians live under … it makes it harder to practise and compete in our sports," said Atrash.
Beyond travel restrictions, Palestinians face checkpoints and a scarcity of services such as sanitation, and in some areas clean water...The reaction Stoffel is hoping to engender, obviously, is: Damn you, Israel!
Of course, the truth (also reality, also the facts), happens to differ entirely from Stoffel's awful twaddle, and his propagandistic reportage is criticized in this Tablet piece (although neither he nor the Ceeb is mentioned by name):
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.Maybe the deprived Ms. al-Atrash could get World Vision to sponsor her.
Update: Honest Reporting Canada has filed a complaint about Stoffel's biased coverage.