RAMALLAH : Palestinians have expressed outrage at teams from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for taking part in -

The opening legs of the Giro d'Italia cycling race in Israel over the weekend - which they say undermined Arab solidarity with their cause.

The presence of the  Gulf states teams in the top cycling race - which has now moved on to its home territory in Italy - broke a boycott of Israel in place since the start of the Arab Israel conflict in 1948.

In an unusual barbed statement to a fellow Arab country, the Palestinian Olympic Committee said their participation was a ''stab in the back to the great sacrifices made by the Palestinian people.........and a free service for the occupation.''

Neither of the teams immediately responded to emailed inquiries. None of the cyclists in either of the 8-men teams - Bahrain Merida and UAE Team Emirates - appeared to be Bahraini or Emirati citizens and were almost all-

Europeans, according to the profiles on the events official website.

However, in an important break with traditional Arab protocols on events in Israel, the riders wore jerseys emblazoned with -

National colors and brand names of sponsors, state-owned Emirates Airlines and the Bahrain Petroleum Company -

The official Twitter accounts for the team websites showed. [Reuters]


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