Next month will see the running of the first-ever Gaza Marathon (barely a month after the first Jerusalem Marathon). It is explicitly being cast as a U.N. Relief and Works Agency fundraiser, and nearly as explicitly as a political statement. “Kids in Gaza just want to be like kids anywhere else,” said a UNWRA spokesperson. “They don’t want to live in this terrible and locked-up environment.”
So have that out in the comments if you want. What struck me, though, is the course the marathon will take: It will begin at Gaza’s northernmost point and then go down the seashore. Because here’s the thing: Gaza, north to south, is almost exactly the length of a marathon course (26.2 miles). Those of us who do not spend substantial time in the region may lack the requisite sense of just how physically small it is. So, for future reference (all information via Wikipedia):
• Gaza (139 square miles) is roughly the same size as Queens and Manhattan combined.
• The West Bank (minus East Jerusalem, 3,652 square miles) is about the same size as Delaware and Rhode Island combined, or, roughly, Los Angeles County minus the Valley.
• Israel (8,522 square miles) is basically New Jersey. Also, they are roughly the same size.
• The Golan Heights (695 square miles) is exactly five Gazas.
See, doesn’t that make all of this easier? Wait, it doesn’t?
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.