Giro d’Italia’s Glitz Won’t ‘Sportswash’ Israel’s Dismal Human Rights Record: Amnesty

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called upon fellow journalists commissioned to cover the event to raise awareness about the military occupation in Palestine. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Amnesty International said Giro d’Italia cyclists should be prepared to answer ‘field questions’ about the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

A day before the Giro d’Italia 2018 race’s launch on May 4, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

“We’re not going to tell the Giro d’Italia organizers where they should and shouldn’t start the race, but the Jerusalem launch inevitably means Israel’s dismal human rights record is going to be in the spotlight.”

She added:

“The Giro d’Italia riders will begin the race only weeks after the Israeli security forces unleashed excessive, deadly force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including children.”

“The race will set off right next to East Jerusalem where Palestinians are facing house demolitions, illegal settlement building and a host of restrictions on their movement.”

In this vein, in a message under the slogan of “Think of Your Palestinian Colleagues in the Firing Line”, the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) -founded in 1907- called upon fellow journalists commissioned to cover the event to raise awareness about the military occupation in Palestine.

“Participants and their supporters may see it purely as a sports event and a means to promote Italy on the world stage. But it can also become an opportunity to raise awareness of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, with its serious violations of human rights.”

NUJ further urged sports journalists to be alert about the “relentless attacks against their colleagues in Palestine” in a flagrant breach of Israel’s international human rights obligations and UN international humanitarian law.

Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem expressed their outrage on social media at the arrival of UAE and Bahrain teams to participate in the race, using the hashtag of #Withdraw_Your_Bicycles.

‘Murad’ said:

“The officials in the Gulf continue in their disgraceful move towards normalization, this time through sending cyclists’ teams in the name of Bahrain and UAE to occupied Jerusalem to participate in an Israeli-sponsored competition. #Withdraw_Your_Bicycles and stop normalizing.”

A young ‘Mr Basil Hajeer’ tweeted:

“The sports normalization [with Israel] is continuing; UAE and Bahrain are joining the Giro d’Italia 2018 competition .. which will be launched from Jerusalem under sponsorship of Zionist companies..”

While ‘Dr Taha’ wrote:

“#Withdraw_Your_Bicycles and don’t take part in killing your brothers in occupied Palestine. Shame on the Arab participants in the cycle race in the offensive Israeli entity”

A spokesperson for the “National Work Committee” in East Jerusalem told Al Araby Al Jedeed:

“The Emirati and Bahraini participation in the race is a serious provocation to the Palestinians.. as it is taking place at a time Jerusalem is facing a most blatant attack of Judaization, Israelization in order to cover up violations, and cleansing against its people.”

Amnesty recently accused Israeli security forces of carrying out a “murderous assault” on Palestinians taking part in “Great March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip.

The organization renewed its call on governments worldwide to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel following its disproportionate response to mass demonstrations along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.


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