Giro d’Italia endorses Israeli occupation

Italy's most prestigious cycling race made a political statement this year by allowing itself to become a tool of the Israeli narrative in the West Bank.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Giro d’Italia
endorses Israeli occupation - NewsMavens
Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank. The key is a symbol of Palestinians’ “Right of Return” to their homeland. Ph. Ingrid Colanicchia

Why this story matters:

Since the beginning of the Palestinian March of Return protests on March 30, in honor of Land Day, Israeli snipers have killed at least 54 people and wounded over 7,000. And May 14 -- the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel and the date of the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem -- brought dozens of additional casualties.

The continuous violations of both human rights and international law by Israel are not new, but in the wake of such bloodshed it is even more shameful that a sporting event like the Giro d'Italia lent itself to the propaganda operations of Israel. A country which is always determined to present itself as a democratic and civilized country and to hide the apartheid regime to which the Palestinians are subjected.

The initial race outline of the Giro d'Italia named "West Jerusalem" as the city of departure. However, the word was immediately modified by the organizers after Israeli authorities threatened to withdraw funding. The change may seem harmless, but it endorses the Israeli claim that the city is the "unique and indivisible" capital of the State of Israel. 

Details from the story:

  • On May 14, the State of Israel celebrates the anniversary of its foundation. On May 15, Palestinians commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) and the ethnic cleansing that ensued.
  • During this year's celebrations on May 14, the Israeli military killed dozens of Palestinians demonstrating in Gaza along the demarcation lines with Israel. Latest estimates report that more than 50 civilians were killed, and more than 2,000 were injured.
  • The status of Jerusalem is one of the central issues of the Israeli-Palestinian question: Israel claims the whole city, including East Jerusalem, as its capital; while the Palestinian National Authority claims East Jerusalem as the capital of the future State of Palestine.
  • The United Nations condemn the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem and deny the legal validity to Israel's decisions to make all of Jerusalem its capital.
  • Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and on May 14 the US embassy was transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  • On May 4, the 101th Giro d'Italia -- organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport -- started in Jerusalem.
  • In Italy, many opposed the location. A group of Jewish citizens also signed an open letter of protest.
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