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Giro diffuses Israel tensions, Palestinians protest race: Daily News Digest
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Following a threat by Israeli government members to withdraw their backing of the Giro d’Italia’s start in that country next May, the race has quickly moved to smooth things over. Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin complained after literature at Wednesday’s race launch in Milan stated that the first stage would begin in West Jerusalem.
Both the United Nations and the European Union dispute Israel’s claim to East Jerusalem, with the UN regarding it as part of the occupied Palestinian territory. Indeed it does not recognise any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However the Israeli officials demanded that the Giro change its reference to the city.
“In Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, there is no east or west. There is one unified Jerusalem,” they said, referring to the use of West Jerusalem as “a breach of the agreements with the Israeli government. If the wording does not change, the Israeli government will not be a partner in the event.”
The Giro organisers issued a statement on Thursday. “RCS Sport would like to clarify that the start of the Giro d’Italia 2018 will take place from the city of Jerusalem. During the Presentation of the 2018 race course, technical material containing the wording ‘West Jerusalem’ was used, due to the fact that the race will take place logistically in that area of the city. That particular wording, devoid of any political value, has been removed from any material related to the Giro d’Italia.”
The race is reportedly being paid €10 million by Israel for the rights to host the Giro’s Grande Partenza, or Big Start. There are additional unconfirmed suggestions that Tour de France champion Chris Froome is being paid €2 million by Israel to ride.
Today’s feature image is from the route launch of the Giro d’Italia and was taken by LaPresse/Fabio Ferrari.