Palestine Olympic Committee Condemns 'Shameful' UAE, Bahrain Participation in Israel Cycle Race

Palestine Olympic Committee Condemns 'Shameful' UAE, Bahrain Participation in Israel Cycle Race
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Published May 6th, 2018 - 18:56 GMT via

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The Palestine Olympic Committee logo
The Palestine Olympic Committee logo

A Palestinian sporting authority have strongly condemned the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for sending athletes to take part in a cycling race in Israel.

The Palestine Olympic Committee said in a statement on Sunday that the two Gulf states have committed "high treason" with their participation in the Giro d'Italia race in Jerusalem.

"This sets a very dangerous precedent the reaches the level of high treason to the struggles of the Palestinian people and their sacrifices," the statement said.

"The committee condemns in the strongest terms the shameful participation of Emirati and Bahraini cyclists in the race,"

The statement called on the Arab countries to immediately withdraw their teams from the contest.

"Anyone who supports this race or takes part in it is a disgrace," it added.

The UAE and Bahrain are among 22 teams competing in this year's Giro d'Italia, which began on Friday, marking the first time a cycling Grand Tour has been held outside Europe.

All of the cyclists on the Gulf states teams are naturalised citizens.

Palestinians have protested the decision to hold the event in Israel, and boycott activists have demonstrated against it.

The Giro itself caused a minor uproar when organisers billed the opening leg as in "West Jerusalem," angering Israel, which considers the entire city to be its eternal capital.

The Giro ultimately reverted back to simply using "Jerusalem," which in turn enraged Palestinians, who said it served to "legitimise the annexation of Jerusalem."

Palestinians have also objected to promotional materials on the Giro's social media that include photos and videos of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Despite the Sunni-majority Gulf states having no official diplomatic relations with Israel, their deep distrust of Shia power Iran is shared with Israel and has recently helped thaw relations.

Copyright @ 2018 The New Arab.

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