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by Shane Stokes
November 23, 2017
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Next year’s planned start of the Giro d’Italia in Israel has come under pressure with the news that over 120 separate groups have called on organisers RCS Sport to move the race to another location. The groups are protesting the decision to hold the race’s prestigious Grande Partenza [Big Start] in Jerusalem, with a 10.1 kilometre time trial taking place there on May 4. Two road stages will following, racing to
Tel Aviv and Eilat respectively.
September’s announcement about the Grande Partenza already led to criticism from groups such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which said the event represents a “sports-washing of Israel’s occupation and apartheid.”
On Wednesday the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine [ECCP] sought to ratchet up the pressure in a statement about the groups protesting the race location. “The signatories stress that holding the Giro d’Italia in Israel will both cover up Israel’s military occupation and discrimination against Palestinians and increase Israel’s sense of impunity, encouraging continued denial of Palestinians’ UN-stipulated rights,” it said in that statement.
“Giro d’Italia is working with Israeli company Comtec Group, the organizer the “Big Start” event, which has activities in illegal Israeli settlements. In official race imagery, maps and videos, Giro d’Italia is deceptively portraying East Jerusalem, which has been under Israeli military occupation for fifty years, as if it were part of Israel and the unified capital of the State of Israel.
“The final stage planned for southern Israel will pass by dozens of Palestinian Bedouin villages Israel refuses to recognize or provide with ‘the most basic of services, including electricity, water, clinics, schools and roads,’ one of which Israel has demolished over 100 times.”
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