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In Pictures: Palestinian parkour
Flying high over Jerusalem, young men engaged in the daredevil sport are winning over tourists.
Last updated: 04 Mar 2014 11:38
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Jerusalem - Walking down the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, silhouettes of young men fly over market stalls in the souk. These daredevils are Palestinians practicing parkour, the death-defying sport combining gymnastics, acrobatics, running and jumping.

Developed in northern France in the 1990s, parkour participants perform in all types of urban environments, using only their bodies to leap, flip, and overcome obstacles. The sport also borrows elements from martial arts, rock climbing and other athletic fields.

On a rooftop overlooking Jerusalem one recent day, Sami methodically planned his movements before making a jump. He gave one final look towards his friend, who stood back and watched the young man as he made the leap - an impressive flight of several seconds over the heads of onlookers seven metres below.

Sami founded the first Palestinian group practicing parkour in Jerusalem three years ago. He was quickly joined by a dozen young people 15 to 21 years old eager to learn the sport.

Sami, 21, works in a hotel and was a gymnastics enthusiast since he was a child growing up in Jerusalem. He decided to try out parkour after watching the French movie Banlieue 13 released in 2004, featuring the sport's creator, David Belle.

For Sami, the film was a life-changing revelation. "I immediately wanted to imitate what I saw: sports, action, danger," he told Al Jazeera.


/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Muhamad and Sami rehearse an acrobatic routine before starting parkour, which combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and other athletic fields.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami and his friends practice on the rooftops of Jerusalem's buildings, a few metres away from the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A lot of obstacles, domes from the souk, and runways provide the perfect place for the athletes to practice and perform in front of curious tourists.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Great physical condition and rigour are required, so the group trains in different spots of the city three times a week.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Some children attempt to imitate the parkour peformance, and when they are old enough, Sami and his friends will teach them the basics.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami and Muhamad jump over a gap between buildings in the old city of Jerusalem.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Muhamad, 17, said: "Parkour helps me to experience the feeling of freedom and release the pressure that I suffer daily as a Palestinian in Jerusalem."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Twenty-five years after it was invented by a couple of school friends in northern France, the popularity of parkour has exploded around the world.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Parkour treats the world as one big obstacle course, and is gaining traction outside of the urban enthusiasts who practice it.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Great balance and skill are required, as demonstrated by Hussein, who walks across a tall fence.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami said: "Our practice is purely about sport. We are trying to avoid any political message, even if I remain Palestinian and whatever happens here affects me directly."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

"We want to prove that we are capable of doing great things, even with limited resources, and that we are as efficient as other tracers [parkour practitioners]."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami explained how he organised a meeting with a group of Israeli parkour practitioners: "We had crossed by chance in the city of Al Malah. I invited them to join us one afternoon in Jerusalem. We practiced together, to compare our respective skills."



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Thanks to the Internet, Sami's group is in contact with other parkour aficionados in Palestine and Gaza, and often exchange tips and photos of their training.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Hussein, Ahmad, Muhannad and Sami pose at one of their favourite spots in the old city of Jerusalem.



/Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

The young men are eager to participate in the biggest parkour competitions in Russia, France and Indonesia, but in the meantime, they keep delighting tourists with their daring stunts.




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images:
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captions:

Muhamad and Sami rehearse an acrobatic routine before starting parkour, which combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and other athletic fields.

;*;

Sami and his friends practice on the rooftops of Jerusalem\(***)s buildings, a few metres away from the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock.

;*;

A lot of obstacles, domes from the souk, and runways provide the perfect place for the athletes to practice and perform in front of curious tourists.

;*;

Great physical condition and rigour are required, so the group trains in different spots of the city three times a week.

;*;

Some children attempt to imitate the parkour peformance, and when they are old enough, Sami and his friends will teach them the basics.

;*;

Sami and Muhamad jump over a gap between buildings in the old city of Jerusalem.

;*;

Muhamad, 17, said: "Parkour helps me to experience the feeling of freedom and release the pressure that I suffer daily as a Palestinian in Jerusalem."

;*;

Twenty-five years after it was invented by a couple of school friends in northern France, the popularity of parkour has exploded around the world.

;*;

Parkour treats the world as one big obstacle course, and is gaining traction outside of the urban enthusiasts who practice it.

;*;

Great balance and skill are required, as demonstrated by Hussein, who walks across a tall fence.

;*;

Sami said: "Our practice is purely about sport. We are trying to avoid any political message, even if I remain Palestinian and whatever happens here affects me directly."

;*;

"We want to prove that we are capable of doing great things, even with limited resources, and that we are as efficient as other tracers [parkour practitioners]."

;*;

Sami explained how he organised a meeting with a group of Israeli parkour practitioners: "We had crossed by chance in the city of Al Malah. I invited them to join us one afternoon in Jerusalem. We practiced together, to compare our respective skills."

;*;

Thanks to the Internet, Sami\(***)s group is in contact with other parkour aficionados in Palestine and Gaza, and often exchange tips and photos of their training.

;*;

Hussein, Ahmad, Muhannad and Sami pose at one of their favourite spots in the old city of Jerusalem.

;*;

The young men are eager to participate in the biggest parkour competitions in Russia, France and Indonesia, but in the meantime, they keep delighting tourists with their daring stunts.

Daylife ID:
467e01cf41c04ade701f9e11e111db4a
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera;*;Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Palestinian Parkourhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkouren-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sun, 02 Mar 2014 12:45:26 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/763c5b426967f1348a1de35ac2aeca8f

Muhamad and Sami rehearse an acrobatic routine before starting the parkour, which combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and other athletic fields

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/763c5b426967f1348a1de35ac2aeca8fSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Muhamad and Sami rehearse an acrobatic routine before starting the parkour, which combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing and other athletic fields

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/96608686ce4ecae1a972931dd1c5a03a

Sami and his friends practice on the rooftops of Jerusalem's buildings, a few metres away from the Holy Sepulcre and the Dome of the Rock

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/96608686ce4ecae1a972931dd1c5a03aSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami and his friends practice on the rooftops of Jerusalem's buildings, a few metres away from the Holy Sepulcre and the Dome of the Rock

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/7e1a66f2cfa92e9fa3d8951edd15b00c

A lot of obstacles, domes from the souk, and runways provide the perfect place for the athletes to practice and perform in front of curious tourists

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/7e1a66f2cfa92e9fa3d8951edd15b00cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

A lot of obstacles, domes from the souk, and runways provide the perfect place for the athletes to practice and perform in front of curious tourists

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/210e469406bf9abb1c435fab13f84ebc

Great physical condition and rigor are required, so the group trains in different spots of the city three times a week

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/210e469406bf9abb1c435fab13f84ebcSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Great physical condition and rigor are required, so the group trains in different spots of the city three times a week

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/d042fe6742263fdc68675392647d6d37

Some children attempt to imitate the parkour peformance, and when they are old enough, Sami and his friends will teach them the basics

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/d042fe6742263fdc68675392647d6d37Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Some children attempt to imitate the parkour peformance, and when they are old enough, Sami and his friends will teach them the basics

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/ef505b46295cfa17f56ac3ff0e53249e

Sami and Muhamad jump over a gap between buildings in the old city of Jerusalem

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/ef505b46295cfa17f56ac3ff0e53249eSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami and Muhamad jump over a gap between buildings in the old city of Jerusalem

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/b6586055ab31d41c84e315bbd63c48dc

Mohamad, 17, said: "Parkour helps me to experience the feeling of freedom and release the pressure that I suffer daily as a Palestinian in Jerusalem."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/b6586055ab31d41c84e315bbd63c48dcSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Mohamad, 17, said: "Parkour helps me to experience the feeling of freedom and release the pressure that I suffer daily as a Palestinian in Jerusalem."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/cede85f383be67494a7c62f71161445e

Twenty-five years after it was invented by a couple of school friends in northern France, the popularity of parkour has exploded around the world

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/cede85f383be67494a7c62f71161445eSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Twenty-five years after it was invented by a couple of school friends in northern France, the popularity of parkour has exploded around the world

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/effb992cccdf3b91125b2ba94788a767

Parkour treats the world as one big obstacle course, and is gaining traction outside of the urban enthusiasts who practice it

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/effb992cccdf3b91125b2ba94788a767Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Parkour treats the world as one big obstacle course, and is gaining traction outside of the urban enthusiasts who practice it

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/1bbb77a5f3da25fbe1c2db9cdb447fa5

Great balance and skill are required, as demonstrated by Hussein who walks across a tall fence

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/1bbb77a5f3da25fbe1c2db9cdb447fa5Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Great balance and skill are required, as demonstrated by Hussein who walks across a tall fence

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/be328a3d887c02e71f97c266e2b09b2c

Sami said: "Our practice is purely about sport. We are trying to avoid any political message, even if I remain Palestinian and whatever happens here affects me directly"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/be328a3d887c02e71f97c266e2b09b2cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami said: "Our practice is purely about sport. We are trying to avoid any political message, even if I remain Palestinian and whatever happens here affects me directly"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/b9cc295447685fe1ef195b53f8fea974

"We want to prove that we are capable of doing great things, even with limited resources and that we are as efficient as other tracers [parkour practitioners]"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/b9cc295447685fe1ef195b53f8fea974Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

"We want to prove that we are capable of doing great things, even with limited resources and that we are as efficient as other tracers [parkour practitioners]"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/767f99a6871ceaa1357a5f0e03a3c48c

Sami explained how he organised a meeting with a group of Israeli parkour: "We had crossed by chance in the city of Al Malah, I invited them to join us one afternoon in Jerusalem. We practiced together, to compare our respective skills"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/767f99a6871ceaa1357a5f0e03a3c48cSebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Sami explained how he organised a meeting with a group of Israeli parkour: "We had crossed by chance in the city of Al Malah, I invited them to join us one afternoon in Jerusalem. We practiced together, to compare our respective skills"

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/699cc32df7824481e63c222a854d79e7

Thanks to the Internet, Sami's group is in contact with other parkour afficionados in Palestine and Gaza, and often exchange tips and photos of their training

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/699cc32df7824481e63c222a854d79e7Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Thanks to the Internet, Sami's group is in contact with other parkour afficionados in Palestine and Gaza, and often exchange tips and photos of their training

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/6d5b0778d705e30a91c6a5027fe61843

Hussein, Ahmad, Muhannad and Sami pose at one of their favourite spots in the old city of Jerusalem

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/6d5b0778d705e30a91c6a5027fe61843Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

Hussein, Ahmad, Muhannad and Sami pose at one of their favourite spots in the old city of Jerusalem

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/6f7b95872b4173f5e66238ede7157c52

The young men are eager to participate in the biggest parkour competitions in Russia, France and Indonesia, but in the meantime, they keep on delighting tourists with their crazy stunts

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Palestinian_Parkour/slideshow/no-caption/6f7b95872b4173f5e66238ede7157c52Sebastien Leban/Al Jazeera

The young men are eager to participate in the biggest parkour competitions in Russia, France and Indonesia, but in the meantime, they keep on delighting tourists with their crazy stunts



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