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by Neal Rogers
December 12, 2017
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With tensions rising after U.S. president Donald Trump’s recent announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Giro d’Italia organizers RCS are acknowledging that a Plan B exists to start the race in southern Italy. Over the weekend, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, prompting targeted retaliatory strikes from the Israeli army. Several have died in the violence and eight nations, including Italy, have called on the United Nations to hold an emergency meeting regarding Trump’s declaration.
In 1947, UN General Assembly resolution 181 established Jerusalem as a corpus separatum [separate body] under a special international regime and has repeatedly maintained that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal.” In 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, unilaterally annexing it as part of its united capital. Prior to last week, no country in the world recognized any part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
According to VeloNews, RCS Sport is considering a worst-case-scenario option that could see the race start in southern Italy. Instead of three Israel stages, the 2018 Giro could start in the toe of Italy’s boot in Puglia, and move west. Once on the island of Sicily, the route would continue as planned with stage 4 from Catania. Another possibility, which race director Mauro Vegni stated in September, is starting the race from Catania.
“I already have a plan B, all-Italian, but it will have to truly be a last-ditch scenario,” Vegni told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I have the possibility of inserting in the Giro route, between the south and central Italy, three stages to replace those Israeli stages. But, I’ll repeat, this would be a true extreme solution, which I don’t really want to think about.”