Sunday, November 29, 2020

Palestinians express resignation as Giro D’Italia starts in Jerusalem on Friday

By Annelies Verbeek - May 03, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [sport] [BDS] [Jerusalem]

The Giro D’Italia, a world-famous bicycle race that is ordinarily held in Italy, will start in Jerusalem on Friday May 4. The first stage of the race will commence from a location close to Jaffa Gate, on the Western side of the old city. The cyclists will follow a tour throughout West Jerusalem, to finish at the start. 

After Jerusalem, the cyclists will move to Tel Aviv for a second stage of the race. This will take place between Tel Aviv and Haifa. On the final day in Israel, the cyclists will race from Be’er Sheva to Eilat. The athletes will then fly to Italy to complete another 18 stages.
One of the driving forces behind the Giro takeoff in Jerusalem is Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams. He described the start of the Giro in Jerusalem as an “antidote to the BDS Movement.”
He claimed to want to show Israel as a “free, pluralistic and democratic society” to “apolitical sports fans who don’t care about problems and conflicts.”
The Israeli government did not appear to take an apolitical stance when it threatened to pull out the Giro last November. The Giro’s website had labelled the starting point of the race to be in “West Jerusalem.” Israeli politicians Miri Regev and Yariv Levin claimed the wording was “unacceptable.”
“In Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, there is not east or west,” they stated, according to Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. The official website of the Giro D’Italia has since then changed the wording.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. It annexed the eastern part of the city in 1980 by voting a law that declared Jerusalem the 'eternal and undivided capital of Israel.’
The effort to claim Jerusalem as the Israeli capital went internationally unrecognised until US president Trump vowed to move the US embassy December last year.
The Palestine Monitor went to Jaffa Gate to gauge the reactions of some of the Palestinians in the old city.
Abu Nidal, a sales manager from the area expressed his sorrow at the events, but also said that Palestinians in Jerusalem feel a sense of resignation, as there is nothing they can do to stop it. He also said that for Palestinians, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for decades. “All these changes are political. But the situation on the ground has been like this for years,” Abu Nidal explained.
Tareq, another shop owner, echoed Abu Nidal’s sentiment, affirming the Jerusalem Municipality has been undertaking efforts for years to show Jerusalem as exclusively Jewish and the capital of Israel. “They do exhibitions, festivals, marathons… they spend millions of dollars, just to show the world that Jerusalem is theirs,” Tareq stated.
“Let’s be realistic,” he continued. “They control everything here. They are monitoring Palestinians closely. The smallest move we make, we are arrested. We are forced to watch as they do their activities in our neighbourhoods to use it for their propaganda. There is nothing we can do.”
Lead photo: Wikimedia commons. 

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