Jerusalem - Israeli officials threatened on Wednesday to
drop their partnership of the first stage of the Giro d'Italia after organisers
of the prestigious cycling event referred to the start of the race as
The first day of the 101st edition of the Italian race, set
for May 4, 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,
organisers 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 recognised 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
"If the wording does not change, the Israeli government
will not be a partner in the event," they said in a statement.