The first day of the 101st edition of the Italian race, set for May 4th 2018, will take place in the western sector of Jerusalem, the first time the race starts outside of Europe, in a major coup for Israel.
In the Giro’s Wednesday announcement of the routes, organizers noted the race would begin with a time-trial in “west Jerusalem”. The Palestinians want the annexed eastern sector of the city to be the capital of their future state.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community, and claims the entire city as its undivided capital.
Sports Minister Miri Regev and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said they threatened to back away from their partnership of the race, if the wording did not change.
“In Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, there is no east or west. There is one unified Jerusalem,” a joint statement read, calling the use of the term “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,” they said in a statement.