Israel has recently sealed a deal to purchase 20 F-35 Joint Striker Jets from Lockheed Martin. This contract, the largest purchase made by the state of Israel is covered by a US military aid package. The F-35 is expected to replace the F16 as Israel’s main attack weapon. Israeli F-16s were used in attacks on civilian target, including police stations, government buildings and hospitals, during Israel’s massacre in Gaza in January 2009. The deal had stalled over negotiations as to whether the jets could be fitted with Israeli made missiles and electronic warfare systems. Lockheed refused, saying that the package was a “closed deal”. This stipulation will ensure that the IAF is reliant on the global arms trade for weapons components over the coming years. However, as a sweetener, it has been pledged that some Israeli made weapons systems will be installed on future F-35 purchases. Other companies working on the project are Pratt and Whitney in Connecticut and General Electric in Ohio.

See http://www.israel-palestinenews.org/2010/10/israel-seals-unprecedented-weapons.html and http://www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/2008/Israel_08-83.pdf and http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/israel-plans-to-buy-over-100-f35s-02381/

We are writing to ask you to stop providing online advertising services to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kibbutz Afik in the Israeli occupied Golan.

The Syrian Golan was occupied by military force by Israel in 1967. Towns, villages and cities of the indigenous Syrian residents were razed and 131, 000 of the residents forcibly expelled. The area remains under military occupation and has been colonised by Israeli settlers who have established 33 settlements inhabited by around 18000 colonists.

Afiq was set up soon after the occupation of the Syrian Golan, close to the remains of the Syrian city of Fiq, whose residents had been expelled by the Israeli forces.

The occupation of the Golan amounts to both a war crime and a crime against humanity.  The continued economic exploitation of the area by the occupying army and colonisers continues to be a matter of international concern. For example. In 2008 the United Nations passed a resolution which ‘calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and in particular to desist from the establishment of settlements.’ (General Assembly Resolution 63/99).

The UN Security Council further calls upon “all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories.” (1979)

In advertising the ‘Kibbutz Afik Country Lodging’ (at http://www.venere.com/hotels/afik/hotel-kibbutz-afik/), which is situated on illegally occupied territory, you are propping up the settlement’s economy and helping to perpetuate the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan, contrary to international law.

Furthermore, in 2005, after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against Israel’s apartheid wall, a coalition of civil society groups called on the international community to boycott Israel until it complied with international law. These groups included representatives of the remaining residents of the occupied Syrian Golan the half a million refugees who are barred from returning to the area.

Please advise us what steps you plan to take in relation to this matter.

for more detail on the legality of Israeli settlements under international humanitarian law see Jonathan Moloney (Al Marsad), The Illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Syrian Golan under IHL, 2009 – http://www.golan-marsad.org/pdfs/The_Illegality_of_settlement_products_under_IHL.pdf

The call for boycott can be found at http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

Distributing occupation fruits

Beresheet in Ein Zivan

Ein Zivan kibbutz presents itself as the perfect retreat for Israeli families who want some time away from the heat and buzz of cities like Tel Aviv; it is green, quiet and benefits from the cooler, more comfortable climate. It was also one of the first settlements in the Israeli occupied Golan. Established in 1968, it has a population of around 50 Israeli families and -like most Golan settlements- makes its money through tourism and fruit sales. Cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, pomegranates, plums, apples and various herbs are all grown on the land occupied by Ein Zivan. The kibbutz runs a popular ‘pick your own fruit’ service for tourists and locals, but its fields are covered in flags and signs for the Israeli fruit export and marketing company Beresheet, who clearly run the distribution part of their business (for a previous Corporate Watch article about Beresheet see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/beresheet-exporting-the-fruits-of-occupation/ ).

The fields of Ein Zivan settlement

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The agricultural area of Argaman settlement

Argaman is a Jordan Valley settlement off route 90, the road running North from Jericho, through the valley to the Galilee. It was established in 1968 on land seized by military order after the occupation and forced expulsions of 1967. The building was done under the auspices of the World Zionist Organisation.[1] The settlement spans almost 9500 dunums and houses around 175 Israeli settlers in a fenced residential settlement. The majority of Argaman is reserved for its agricultural area.

Fittingly, the settlement is named after two soldiers who died during Israel’s brutal conquest of the valley.

Argaman is close to the Palestinian village of Zubeidat. Zubeidat was classified Area B during the Oslo accords, technically meaning that there is joint Israeli and Palestinian control. In reality, although the village is better off than neighbouring area C villages, the classification stunts the natural growth of the village by placing a rigid border on the built up area. Read the rest of this entry »

A South African fruit grower is selling dates to an Israeli settler company.

Since writing about Hadiklaim’s business in the Jordan Valley, Corporate Watch has been overwhelmed by questions about boxes of Hadiklaim dates labelled ‘Produce of South Africa’. These dates are sold to Hadiklaim by Karsten Farms, a South African fruit growing group, and then packaged under the Jordan River or Kalahari brandnames and exported to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Israeli Chamber of Commerce, Tel Aviv

The first of July 2010 saw the tenth annual ‘Israel Opportunity Investment Conference’ take place in London. Represented by the PR company Grayling (www.grayling.com), the aim of the day was to sell Israel as a secure investment opportunity and a promising emerging market worthy of attention. Only four weeks before the conference, Israel had been accepted into the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) despite the efforts of campaigners to prevent this by protesting that a country which include their illegal settlement activities and businesses in their economic data can hardly be seen as complying with the OECD motto “For a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy’.  However, since Israel had also been promoted from ‘emerging’ to ‘developed’ market status by the MSCI a few days before the event, there was always bound to be a lot of interest from investors willing to find ways to benefit from Israel’s occupation economy.

Focusing on banking, energy and the biotech sector, the conference highlighted the already cosy relationships between Israel and global international companies. For instance, the sessions encouraging investment in the Israeli businesses Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and the Strauss Group were facilitated by two representatives from Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital respectively. Both financial institutions have established offices in Israel already. The literature handed out to attendees at the conference gave, as one of the top ten reasons for investing in the country, that ‘The state of Israel is committed to encouraging local and foreign direct investment by offering a wide range of incentives and benefits, such as investment grants, tax benefits and exemptions to investors’, hence making it very clear to potential investors that should they choose to get involved with any of the companies exhibiting, they would be beneficiaries of Israel’s apartheid system. Read the rest of this entry »

Israel tourism advert from G2

A few weeks ago the Guardian’s G2 supplement ran a series of adverts for tourism in Israel. One of them,  shown above, describes a holiday in Israel as a ‘unique experience’. Damn right its a unique experience; interrogation by surly airport security, sharing buses with hordes of armed to the teeth Israeli adolescents and the chance to see the old city of Jerusalem policed by racist goons with a quota of Palestinian residents to harass. For the more adventurous tourist there’s the deserted and terrorised streets of the old city of Hebron, daubed with xenophobic graffiti, the apartheid wall, collective puishmment, targeted assassinations, house demolitions, torture and repression – the possibilities are endless.

None of that was mentioned in the G2 adverts. Readers are presented with a picture of a couple enjoying the Dead Sea Coast – much of which is in illegally occupied territory (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/kibbutz-kalia-part-1-a-holiday-in-israeli-apartheid/). Read the rest of this entry »

Hadiklaim is an Israeli date growers cooperative which deals with several major supermarkets in the UK, including Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Waitrose (although the Co Op and Marks and Spencer maintain that they only stock Hadiklaim products from 1948 Israel). The company boasts that it exports to 30 countries (see http://www.hadiklaim.com/company_customers.asp). Tesco and Marks and Spencer branded dates are Hadiklaim produce.

The Hadiklaim cooperative includes date growers from 1948 Israel, mostly the South, and from the settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s website portrays the company as one which deals only with 1948 Israel; listing growers in Beit Shean, the Kinneret, the Arava, Eilat and (ambiguosly)’the Dead Sea region’. However, the company also exports from the Israels settlements in the Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s statements in the Israeli Hebrew language media are markedly different – the companies CEO has stated in YNet that the occupied Jordan Valley is an important area for Hadiklaim. Read the rest of this entry »

JNF sign of of land reclamation in the Jordan Valley

If you are a follower of this blog you will have read a lot about the Jordan Valley -an area that comprises almost 30% of the West Bank. Because of its fertile land and border with Jordan, it is under urgent threat of annexation by Israel, who are issuing statements about their claim to the land with alarming frequency. In March this year Benjamin Netanyahu officially announced that “Israel will never cede the Jordan Valley” and since then the Palestinians there have been met with increasing repression. Only during the last few weeks, the Israeli Occupation Forces entered the Palestinian village of Al Farisiya and demolished 23 houses, leaving over 100 people homeless. When the villagers rebuild some of the destroyed structures the army returned to the area and yet again razed it to the ground

44% of the land in the Jordan Valley is controlled by closed military zones and 50% by the 37 illegal settlements -leaving the indigenous Palestinian population in control of a mere 6% of their land. Around 7000 illegal Israeli settlers and 50.000 Palestinians live in the parts of the valley which are on the Palestinian side of the Green Line. An uninformed visitor could be forgiven for thinking that the numbers were reversed; It is entirely possible to take a bus straight from inside Israel and along the Israeli controlled Road 90 through the valley, seeing only settler greenhouses with their lush, irrigated crops. This is a façade that Israel work cold-heartedly to promote.

Zionist information point for tourists

Visiting the Jordan Valley Meeting Point – an Israeli run rest stop and tourist centre along Road 90- is a disturbing and slightly surreal experience for anybody who knows what the real Jordan Valley, and life for its Palestinian communities, is like. Entering the meeting point area feels like joining some ethnically cleansed zone in a Zionist alternative universe, as everything Palestinian has been removed from view. Any tourist, or conscripted Israeli teenage soldier, stopping off there for a Coke and falafel will be presented with a version of the truth designed to brainwash them and airbrush anything Palestinian from the valley. The information points provided describe historical and archaeological sites, attractions and tour routes, state of the art agricultural technologies and Israel’s “battle legacies” in the area. Inviting tourists to join settler organised Jeep trips and walking tours, they highlight the possibilities to follow migrating birds and appreciate blossoming wild flowers in a stunning landscape. What they fail to mention, however, is that no Palestinian has the freedom to enjoy any of these things as all their villages are surrounded by closed military zones and they are prevented from taking a step out of line. Read the rest of this entry »

Greenhouses in Ro'i illegal settlement

As part of Corporate Watch’s efforts to map settlement exports from the Jordan Valley, we visited the illegal Israeli settlement of Ro’i earlier this year.

Established in 1976, Ro’i is a “typical” Jordan Valley settlement in that it has a low population (of less than 150 settlers), but has stolen large areas of land from the indigenous Palestinian population. With its private security, army protection and rows upon rows of greenhouses, Ro’i poses a challenge to the existence of Bedouin communities such as nearby Al Hadidya and Ras-Al Ahmar, who are under constant threat of house demolitions and army harassment aimed at the  ethnic cleansing of bedouin from the area. The Israeli’s described these communities as a “security threat” to the settlers.

Al Hadidya is located just next to Ro’i, which was partially built on their land, and inhabitants have to more or less drive through the the outskirts of the settlement in order to reach their home. Any company trading from Ro’i, or importing their produce, are directly responsible for the very real possibility of Al Hadidya’s forced extinction.

Al Hadidya's - in the shadow of Ro'i settlement

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On January 17th 2009 six people broke into EDO MBM/ITT in Brighton and caused £189 000 worth of damage to computers, servers, lathes and other equipment. The activists, calling themselves the ‘decommissioners’, took their action in response to the Israeli assault on Gaza which had claimed 1400 lives by the 17th. EDO MBM/ITT manufactures the arming unit for the Israeli F16 bombrack. The six were arrested, along with three people alleged to have supported the action. All nine were charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage. At a month long trial at Hove Crown Court seven of the activists argued that they had a lawful excuse to damage EDO’s property as the company was complicit in war crimes. All seven were acquitted on July 2nd 2010 after the jury gave five unanimous not guilty verdicts and the judge directed that the final two should be acquitted. One activist had been found with no case to answer earlier in the trial due to lack of evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

BE Machinery in Bnei Yahuda industrial zone

The Bnei Yehuda industrial area is a business park connected to the Israeli Moshav settlement Bnei Yehuda in the occupied Golan. As is the case with all Israeli industrial zones, businesses operating in Bnei Yehuda enjoy preferential tax rates and other benefits and, in doing businesson occupied territory, ensure the profitability and sustainability of the settlement itself (see our previous report http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3477 ). Whilst most of the businesses trading from Bnei Yehuda, such as the skin care company Avanova (http://www.avanova.co.il ) and Kosher caterers Buffalo, seem to cater for the settlers and wider Israeli market, Corporate Watch found one company with wider international connections. BE Machinery, one part of the larger Beth El Industries, specialise in machinery and processing plants for the food industry or, in their own words “complete automation and integrated IT solutions for the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.” Their mother company Beth El is a multi faceted business which, like so many other Israeli enterprises, make most of their business from the production of various military and “safety” equipment, including bomb shelters, filtration systems and vehicle components. According to The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute’s web-site, where Beth El’s profile is located in the Aerospace and Homeland Security section, they are a supplier to many NATO forces throughout Europe, the Middle East and the far East. The UK is listed as both an importing and exporting partner of Beth El.

As is common amongst companies which trade in the settlements, BE Machinery are registered inside Israel, at the address if Beth El Industries: Food Processing Department, 1 Avshalom Road,
P.O. Box 166, Zikhron Yaaqov 30951, Israel
info@be-machinery.com http://www.be-machinery.com/

phone: 0097246601717 Fax: 0097246601919 Read the rest of this entry »

Cable cars going up Mount Hermon in the Golan

Mount Hermon, located in the Occupied Golan, is trying hard to present itself as a unique destination for Israelis and foreign tourists alike. Promoted as the only ski resort in Israel, the mountain slopes of the Hermon is busiest in the winter, when visitors can participate in various skiing activities. In the summer it is popular with hikers, and a new bike track was recently opened for adventurous cyclists. Although Israel’s occupation of the Golan is sometimes less visibly repressive than in the West Bank -most notably through the lack of checkpoints- it would be a mistake for any holiday makers to fool themselves into believing that a trip there does not make them complicit in the same brutal occupation. Despite its proximity to the Syrian Druze town Majdal Shams, any business on Mount Hermon is tightly controlled by the Israeli mountain top settlement Neve Ativ. Neve Ativ is build on the land of the Syrian village of Jubata ez-Zeit, completely razed by the Israeli’s after six day war.

Entrance to Mount Hermon ski resort

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Inside the Tovlan landfill

Video of work continuing at the Tovlan site here

As Corporate Watch has previously reported (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/veolia-taking-out-israels-trash/ and http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/veolias-dirty-business-the-tovlan-landfill/) Veolia run the Tovlan landfill site in the Occupied Jordan Valley as well as provide rubbish collection services to numerous settlements in the area. Whilst the company’s involvement in the East Jerusalem tram line project has gained world wide infamy, their operations in the Jordan Valley have as yet not got them into as much trouble. However, their very direct support of the settlement infrastructure in one of the most vulnerable areas of Palestine prove that they are more than willing to profit from Israel’s brutal occupation as long as they can get away with it. In recent correspondence with critics of their conduct Veolia have downplayed their business in the Jordan Valley, claiming that their site there is no longer operating. On a recent trip there Corporate Watch decided to pay them another visit to see if we could prove them wrong…

ONXY sign at Tovlan entrance

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EDOM signage on packing house in Tomer

After Corporate Watch sent an open letter to Valley Grown Salads (VGS), which has a 20% share in the Israeli company EDOM UK, we were immediately contacted by Jimmy Russo – the company’s director who is also the chairman of EDOM. Claiming that we had got our facts wrong, he was eager to dispute our claim that EDOM had been seen packing vegetables in the illegal settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley. Expressing concern that his company could become a ‘target’ as a result of any settlement connections, he emphasised that VGS would not trade with growers who used child labour or breached labour regulations and indicated that EDOM and VGS would not trade with the settlements in the future. Through written correspondence and a number of phone calls we have since attempted to get to the truth about EDOM’s business in the settlements and inside Israel, asking Russo to explain the various pieces of evidence that point to exports from Tomer. Read the rest of this entry »

On 9 June 2010 activists in Al-Walaja lock themselves to Volvo equipment to disrupt Israel's illegal activities.

by Adri Nieuwhof,

Photos by Activestills: Keren Manor, Anne Paq and Oren Ziv

Over the past few years the use of Volvo equipment in Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of the wall has been documented. Mr. M. Wikforss, Vice President of Media Relations & Corporate News of Volvo Group, response to an article in The Electronic Intifada of 2 July 2007, was that Volvo Group does not condone the destructive use of Volvo equipment and would regret the use of its products for destructive purposes. Wikforss claimed, “we do not have any control over the use of our products, other than to affirm in our business activities a Code of Conduct that decries unethical behavior.”

In its advisory opinion on the wall of July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the illegality of the construction of the wall and Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. According to the ICJ construction activities should stop immediately and the wall and settlements should be dismantled. Palestinians who lost property because of the illegal construction activities should be compensated for their loss.

The Volvo Group Code of Conduct states that “within its sphere of influence, the Volvo Group supports and respects the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensures that it is not complicit in human rights abuses.” Read the rest of this entry »

given by Corporate Watch at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair:

http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2010/05/451860.html

Almost every morning, between 3 and 4am, hundreds of workers from outside the Jordan Valley, from towns as far away as Nablus and even Jenin, queue at Al Hamra checkpoint, sometimes for hours, to get to work at the Israeli settlements in the valley. Often workers arrive too early, for fear of losing their job if the delays are bad, and sleep in the fields on the other side of the checkpoint.

Palestinian workers on Israeli settlements are routinely paid below minimum wage.

The settler bosses are seldom seen before the more civilised time of 9am.

Workers often encounter repression at Al Hamra checkpoint. Corporate Watch has heard reports and witnessed Palestinians being bodysearched, stripsearched or forced to wear blindfold while soldiers check IDs. Travellers are often subjected to insults and abuse by soldiers at Al Hamra.

Workers on their journey to work near Al Hamra

Al Hamra checkpoint

Al Hamra checkpooint

Al Hamra

Factories in Barkan Industrial Zone

The Barkan industrial zone, part of the Ariel settlement block, was founded in 1982 and is the second largest industrial zone in the West Bank. As all industrial zones connected to settlements, businesses operating there receive generous tax reductions from the Israeli government. During the last few years Barkan has been making the BDS headlines through campaigns against companies such as Mul-T-Lock (Assa Abloy) and Beigel and Beigel. One company located in Barkan is the Israeli owned kosher food distributor Shamir Salads (51% owned by Willi-Food) who, according to their web-site, export their produce to Russia, the UK, Holland, Denmark, France, Ukraine, Canada and the US. Specialising in ready made salads and various houmous and aubergine dips, they also service “several food distribution routes for the Israeli Defence Forces”. Shamir Salads have been exposed as deliberately mislabelling their settlement produce, with the latest evidence being produced by Gush Shalom, an Israeli group calling for a boycott of Israel’s settlements, in March, when they found Shamir Salads products in the Netherlands labelled as Israeli despite being made in their Barkan facility (see http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/press_releases/1269703726/ ).

Read the rest of this entry »

Throughout our research around the West Bank it has become obvious that one of the most common ways for international companies to profit from the occupation market is through secondary involvements, such as operating franchises, in Israel’s illegal settlements. Companies such as Blockbuster, Tower Records and Lee Cooper have  franchises of their businesses in settlements, Western Union trade in settlements automatically through their deal with the Israeli Post Office.

International companies like these accept royalties from their franchisee’s for the right to use the brand, boost their brand recognition and open a maket for their goods. However, by operating in a less direct way, they hope to be held less accountable for their actions.

For the BDS movement to let this happen would be a mistake.

Orange advertising and signage in the settlement of Ariel

Orange kiosk in the East Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Ze'ev

One good example of how a seemingly distant involvement by a company can have a huge impact on the ground is the agreement by the mobile phone company Orange, which is owned by France Télécom, to license the Israeli Partner Communications Company to use its name and logo. Orange now has a shop or kiosk in many of the larger settlements in both the West Bank and the occupied Golan and advertises very heavily in them. Orange mobile phone masts (operated by Partner Communications) are located both inside the settlements themselves and on land specifically confiscated for the masts. The masts are situated to benefit the settlements and the Israeli army. The Palestinian Authority, in its crack down on settlements and enforcement of the boycott, recently called for all Israeli mobile phone networks, including Orange, to be banned in Palestinian cities. Orange is entirely separate from the Partner Communications Company, but this does not mean that they are innocents in the situation.

When Partner launched Orange Israel the brandname was registered by Hutchison Whampoa, who were a major shareholder in Partner. The success of the new network when it was launched in 1999 is generally considered one of the best advertising efforts undertaken in Israel, largely due to the brandname. Hutchison Whampoa divested their shares from Partner in 2009. Since France Télécom took over Orange PLC in 2000 they have made a conscious decision to keep supporting the activities of the Israeli company, whose success relies heavily on Orange brand recognition. By withdrawing the licence for their name and logo Orange could take a very visible stance against the occupation rather that silently aiding it.

Partner Communications (Orange Israel) has kiosks in the settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and Modi’in Illit and has erected over 160 antennas and telecommunication infrastructure facilities  on occupied territory.

For Who Profits’ page on the Partner Communications Company see: http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=713

Partner Communications Company is now controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov’s company Scailex Corporation which owns 51% of its shares.

France Telecom (www.francetelecom.com) is based in Paris. The company has offices and franchises worldwide

Settler greenhouses in Beqa'ot

Beqa’ot is an illegal settlement located in the Jordan Valley. Established in 1972, it is agriculturally focused and controls around 1800 dunums of land which were stolen from surrounding Palestinian areas, such as the Bedouin community of Al Hadidya. Beqa’ot is a grower for the Israeli company Mehadrin Tnuport Export (MTEX), a part of the huge Mehadrin Group which also owns 50% of STM Agricultural Exports Ltd -another Israeli company dealing in vegetables. MTEX export around 70% of all their produce to outside Israel and are one of the largest suppliers for the Jaffa brand world wide. According to Palestinian workers in the settlement, Mehadrin has had a monopoly on exports from there for around two years. Before that they also used to work with Carmel Agrexco. Some Arava boxes were also spotted inside the settlement packing area. Read the rest of this entry »

The Syrian Golan was occupied by military force by Israel in 1967. Towns and villages and cities of the indigenous Syrian residents were razed and 131, 000 of the residents forcibly expelled. The area remains under military occupation and has been colonised by Israeli settlers who have established 33 settlements inhabited by around 18000 colonists.

Israel hopes to normalise the occupation of the heights, and make the settlements economically viable, by promoting the area as a major tourist destination.

Tourism in the occupied Syrian Golan is promoted through dozens of websites, none of which describe destination as ‘occupied Golan heights’ or as an Israeli settlement’. Here are a few of the hotels advertising rooms in Afik, a Southern Golan settlement established in 1967 close to the remains of Fiq, whose residents had been epelled by the Israeli army.

http://www.hotelscombined.com advertises, and offers web bookings, for a guesthouse in the Israeli settlement of Afik. Hotels combined is an online booking service advertising rooms all over the world, based in Sydney.Rooms in Afik are also advertised on easytobook.com -  a web booking company based in Switzerland  webtourist.net – also based in Switzerland, booking.com part of priceline.com – a company with offices all over the world including in london (see here). Maplandia also offers a booking service in Afik thriough information provided by booking.com Rooms in hotels in Afik can also be booked at venere.com – a company with offices in Rome, Paris and London.

Burger King has announced that it plans to pull out of the 55 branches of its Israeli franchise

Burger Ranch currently operates 107 resteraunts in Israel, including several based in illlegal settlements:

Burger Ranch logo in the illegal settlement of Ma'ale Adumim near Jerusalem

Burger Ranch in the illegal settlement of Katzerin in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights

Burger Ranch is owned in Israel by Orgad Holdings.

Construction Sign outside Kibbutz Kalia

Several companies were advertising construction work at the settlement of Kibbutz Kalia when Corporate Watch visited in April.  At the gate to Kalia half finished homes can be seen, along with a sign for the Evelon (www.evelon.com) Real Estate Company. The ‘luxury villa project, dubbed “Qalya Vistas, The Cherry of the Dead Sea”, advertises 54 new housing units. The executing contractor is named as Ts. P Construction and ‘management and supervision’ by Peled Klein Civil Engineering (www.peled-klein.co.il) in Yoqne’am Illit (more about Peled Klein at http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=566).

Evelon seems be aimed at US buyers, a special drop down menu on their site allows customers to select the US state they live in.

The half finished buildings in Kalia

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Agrexco's Packing House near Kalia

Corporate Watch paid a visit to Agrexco’s packing house on the land of the illegal settlement of Kibbutz Kalia, on the Northern Coast of the Dead Sea, during April 2010. The packing house is next to fields of date palms. Thai migrant workers could be seen tending to the palms from cherypickers. Inside the packing house herbs were being packed into boxes marked ‘Carmel ECOFRESH: Produce of Kibbutz Kalia, USA’. ECOFRESH is one of Agrexco’s newer brands which is supposed to represent better food quality (see, for example, http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/articles.aspx?page=articles&ID=52941). Workers inside told us that the herbs were being exported to the US. Read the rest of this entry »

Settler caravan in maskiot sponsored by the 'One Israel Fund'

Big corporations are not alone in implementing the Israeli occupation on the ground. Especially in the smaller settlements which do not yet have any industry or commercial outlets, ideological charities and religious groups play a crucial role when it comes to encouraging settlement expansion. This is the case with Maskiot, the first new settlement to be approved in the West Bank for a decade when it was officially established in the middle of 2008.

Located in the Jordan Valley, an area under heavy threat of Israeli annexation, (See, for example, http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3403 ) Maskiot is strongly Zionist and inhabited by ex-Gaza settlers determined to continue to steal Palestinian land and ‘repopulate’ the Valley with Jews.  In other words, ethnically cleanse the area of Palestinians.  Last week (Sunday the 28thof April), as a clear provocation, armed settlers from Maskiot entered the Bedouin area of Al Maleh and set up a tent only ten meters from the community, preventing the people there from accessing some of their land (see http://www.brightonpalestine.org/node/618). This act follows numerous acts of aggression against the people of Al Maleh during the last few years. The settlers are helped in these pursuits by their supporters. In the case of Maskiot this means The One Israel Fund and Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, who have both contributed to Maskiot’s development. Read the rest of this entry »

Tourist a Kalia beach in the Israeli occupied West Bank

Kibbutz Kalia is an illegal Israeli settlement on the North coast of the Dead Sea. It offers bed and breakfast and a private beach and is attempting to tap in on the steady flow of tourists to the area.

Visitors to the area could be forgiven for not realising that Kibbutz Kalia lies in occupied territory. Its a straight drive along route 90 which bypasses Palestinian communities almost entirely. The North coast of the Dead Sea, although only a few kilometres from Jericho, is completely devoid of Palestinian areas and, only when you go inside Carmel Agrexco date packing houses will you see Palestinians. Visible workers on Kibbutz Kalia’s settlement farms are Thai migrants.

Thai migrant workers picking dates in fields belonging to Kibbutz Kalia

Kalia advertises rooms at its guesthouse on a number of websites including http://www.booking.com, http://www.venere.com, http://www.agoda.com, http://www.travelbyclick.net and http://www.webtourist.net. None of these websites make clear that Kalya is in occupied Palestine or that it is an illegal Israeli settlement. Read the rest of this entry »

Readymix in Katzerin

Readymix in Katzerin

Above are pictures of the Readymix (www.readymix.co.il) site in Katzerin Industrial zone. Katzerin is an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Readymix is a supplier of raw materials for the construction industry. The company also has plants in the West Bank in Mevo Khoron, Atarot industrial zone and Mishor Edomim industrial zone.

Readymix supplies construction materials for the Gilo ‘Security Wall’ and several military checkpoints in the West Bank as well as being a partner in Yatir quarry, where Palestinian land is exploited by the Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim.

Readymix is owned by Cemex (www.cemex.com), a Mexican owned multinational company engaged, primarily, in manufacturing cement and other construction products.  Cemex operates on a large scale in the UK – there site locations can be found here: http://www.cemexlocations.co.uk/

For more info on Readymix see http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=645

UPDATE (12/05/10) – Valley Grown Salads and EDOM have replied to this letter claiming that the packing house in Tomer belongs not to them but to a grower that they have worked with in the past. They say that this grower is not part of their ‘supply base’ any more although they have  ‘purchased from him’ on one occassion this season. EDOM claim that they have instructed the grower to take down the EDOM sign at the packing house in Tomer.

More updates soon.

An open Letter to Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk)

Truck marked EDOM UK in Tomer

To Whom it may Concern

I am writing to you from Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org). Corporate Watch has, recently, been undertaking research in Palestine and has noted, with concern, that EDOM UK, an Israeli company in which your company holds a 20% share, operate a packing house in the illegal settlement of Tomer (pictures at http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/uk-company-exporting-from-jordan-valley-settlements/). Read the rest of this entry »

Despite the fact that there is -as demonstrated by this web-site- clearly a lot of more work to be done for people campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel, a recent visit to the Jordan Valley confirmed that there are plenty of reasons for the BDS movement to take stock of its successes. Read the rest of this entry »

Trucks in Beresheet's depot in the illegal settlement of Merom Golan

Beresheet (www.pri-beresheet.co.il), an Israeli fruit export and marketing company based in the Galilee and Golan Heights, has a depot and packing house in the illegal settlement of Merom Golan. The company has dozens of plantations on illegal settlements in the Golan heights (see their plantation map) and advertises that it exports to Europe. Beresheet advertise apple, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, kiwi fruit, lychees, pears and persimmons on their website.  An address in Merom Golan is given as their main contact address on their site. Read the rest of this entry »

The entrance to the illegal israeli settlement of Merom Golan

Merom Golan (www.merom-golan.org.il) is an illegal Israeli settlement in the Northern Golan heights. It was established in 1967, after Israel’s invasion and military occupation of the area.  Merom Golan was established on land belonging to the Syrian area of Al Mansura. It now has a population of 497 people. Read the rest of this entry »

El Rom is an illegal settlement, established in 1971, in the Northern Golan heights. El rom is situated on the land previously occupied by the Syrian settlements of Ein el-Hajal and Buq’aata. The settlement has 300-350 residents. There is now a large expanse of apple fields, possibly bound for export, stretching toward the border on the far side of the road from El Rom.

The fruit export company, Beresheet, advertise that ‘kibbutz’ El Rom is one of their partners (see ).

When Corporate Watchers visited El Rom in February 2010, a car belonging to the Golan Heights winery (which is based in the illegal settlement of Katzerin) was seen leaving the settlement. The Golan Heights Winery lists El Rom as one of the places where they have vineyards, the other illegal settlements where the winery grows its grapes are Alonei Habashan, Gshur, Yonatan, Mevo Hama, Merom Golan, Nov, Kidmat Tzvi, Ramot Naftali, Ein Zivan, Ramot Mashimim, Tel Fares and Sha’al.

El Rom is also trying to market itself as part of the Golan settlements tourist trail with a ‘movie experience’, advertised from the highway, where visitors can watch a film about the Yom Kippur war, should they so wish.

Apple Fields belonging to El Rom

El Rom's 'Movie Experience'

Date Palms near Gilgal settlement

Netiv Hagdud and Gilgal are two illegal Israeli settlements set back from Route 90 South of Fasayil and Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley. Between the two settlements is a fenced agricultural area which exports fruit and vegetables internationally. Produce in Waitrose has previously been seen bearing the label ‘Netiv Hagdud’. In March Corporate Watch paid the two settlements a visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Efrat Travel and Tours

An IATA 'accredited agent sign in the window of Efrat Tours in Efrat settlement

Efrat is a settlement of close to 10.000 people located near Bethlehem in the West Bank. A visit there revealed that the settlement’s own travel agent, Efrat Tours: Travel and Tourism is an accredited agent of IATA -the international Air Transport Association- which has its headquarters in Canada. IATA describes the aim of its business as representing, leading and serving the airline industry. The company also maintains the Timatic database, which contains cross border passenger documentation requirements.

To merely be the accreditor of an already existing business might not seem like the worst corporate faux pa in the circumstances, but what IATA’s presence in Efrat represents is deeply troubling on both a real and a symbolic level. On their web-site IATA describe themselves as ‘providing visibility and credibility on premises and web-sites’ of companies which succeed in gaining IATA Accredited Agent Status. In other words, by endorsing Efrat Tours, IATA legitimise tourism to and from illegal settlements. Whilst the settlers can book their flights around the world without leaving Efrat, the movements of Palestinians down the road are heavily restricted by checkpoints, road blocks and closed military zones, making even a trip to see family members in close-by villages an unpredictable journey that can take hours. Most Palestinians living close to Efrat can only dream of visiting Jerusalem -which is only about half an hour’s drive away- as a majority lack permission to enter what is supposed to be their capital. Read the rest of this entry »

TDP Export sign in Tomer

Tomer is an illegal Israeli settlement of nearly 300 people close to the Palestinian community of Fasayil. It employs Palestinian and Thai workers, the bosses are Israeli. Tomer was established in 1976 on the lands of the people of Fasayil, Al Auja and other nearby Palestinian communities.

Some companies working inside Tomer:

TBP Export - http://www.tbp-export.com – Have a packing house in Tomer. They are, according to their website, an international marketing company for fresh produce set up by two Israeli agricultural companies, Mor-Li and Bar-Mor. Despite basing its packing house on an illegal settlement TBP export boasts that it is certified by EUREPGAP, an international certifier of  “good agricultural practice”. They are also approved to British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards, suggesting they are marketing their goods in Britain. The company advertise potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, peppers, herbs and organic products. TBP list many locations where they source their produce, although not the Jordan Valley. TBP does list Beit Shean and the Arava as two of their growing areas, the areas directly North and South of the valley. TBP’s contact address is in Ein Vered near Israel’s South Coast. TBP use the brandname ‘Rimon’, Corporate Watchers saw a truck emblazoned with this logo picking up produce from Tomer.

Carmel Agrexco – http://www.agrexco.co.il – Agrexco has several packing houses in Tomer and several Agrexco vans could be seen visiting the settlement every day.  Agrexco are the largest agricultural company operating in the Jordan Valley and use the brandnames Carmel, Jaffa, Biotop, Coral, Jordan Plains, Alesia and Ecofresh. Agrexco subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS, Dalia (Germany). Agrexco have a regional office in the occupied Jordan Valley, at the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council, and are building a new refrigeration centre there. The company operates packing houses in most of the Jordan Valley settlements including Netiv Hagdud, Ro’i, Argaman, Mehola and Bet HaArava .

There has been a long running direct action campaign against Carmel Agreco in the UK (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2008/carmelagrexco/).  Activists have repeatedly shut down Agrexco’s depot in Hayes, Middlesex, with blockades and occuptions. In 2006 a case against campaigners who had blockaded the company’s premises was dropped after the defendants had obtained disclosure from the company of its business in the occupied territories. The managing director, Amos Orr, stated in court that 60-70% of all produce from the West Bank was exported through Agrexco.

Carmel’s site boasts that they have branches in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rotterdam, New York, Zurich, Vienna, Madrid and Milan. Several interviews with Carmel workers in the Jordan Valley by Corporate Watch and the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group (www.brightonpalestine.org) have found that workers picking fruit and vegetables for the company in the occupied Jordan Valley are paid 70 – 75 shekels (about 13 pounds), less than half the Israeli minimum wage.

Nirav – http://www.nirav.co.ilMarketing company for greenhouses, sheds etc.

EDOM – http://www.edom.co.ilA partially British owned company. More info at http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/further-information-about-edom-uk-signs-of-more-mislabelling/. Read the rest of this entry »

Arava Export Packing House in Tomer

Arava – http://www.arv.co.ilArava Export Growers is the third largest agricultural export company in Israel, with export sales of about € 60 million. It is 50% owned by B. Gaon Holdings and 50% by farmers in the Arava region of Israel. Arava advertise that their products comply to organic EUREGAP and British Retail Consortium Standards, suggesting a focus on exports to Europe. Arava have a sales office in the UK run by Mill Associates. Arava have subsidiaries in the US and Holland with head offices in New York and Bleiswijk respectively.

Blockbuster franchise in Pisgat Ze'ev

Pisgat Ze’ev, with a population of over 50.000, is the largest settlement in occupied East Jerusalem and an area that pops up frequently in debates about Israeli settlement expansion. One month ago the area made the headlines when Obama criticised the Israeli government’s plans for 600 new housing units there. Situated just east of the Palestinian Shu’fat refugee camp, Pisgat Ze’ev is a strategically important location for the Israelis in their attempt to maintain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. It is also the end stop for one of the branches of the controversial Jerusalem Light Railway, which will connect illegal settlements to west Jerusalem and the old city. However, international companies still seem happy to trade there, as Blockbusters and Pizza Hut both have franchises in the Pisgat Ze’ev mall and the surrounding area. There is also an Orange mobile phone shop there. Orange Israel is owned by the Israeli Partner Communications Company Ltd and not connected to Orange owned by French Telecom. However, the Orange brand name is used under licence, hence representing the endorsement of the mother company. Read the rest of this entry »

Plaque from Valley Grown Salads and Glinwell to Edom Uk office in the Arava.

After finding a packinghouse bearing  Edom UK signage  inside the settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley a few weeks ago, we decided to look more closely into this joint Israeli and British company and their exports.

As mentioned in the previous report, the British company Valley Grown Salads own 20% of the shares in Edom UK, and since then we have found out that another British company, Glinwell PLC, own another 20%. 30% is owned by a company called Chosen Agricultural Products, which consists of farmers from Moshavs in the Arava region, and a further 30% by a company called Magnolia UK holdings. Read the rest of this entry »

Post Office and Western Union in Ma'ale Adumim

Western Union, the international money transfer operator, can be found in most big Israeli settlements including Ariel, Kiryat Arba and Ma’ale Adumim. The Israeli post office is the licensed operator for Western Union in Israel, and as the post office branches operate in the settlements it means that Western Union do too. Through this deal Western Union accept by default both Israel’s acts and language of occupation.

For instance, if you want to find a Western Union agent in occupied East Jerusalem, you get no results on their web-site when you search for agents in The Palestinian Territories, as all locations in Jerusalem -including illegal settlements such as Pizgat Zeev and Palestinian areas like Shu’fat- show up only under a search for Israel. There is also no distinction made between settlement branches and locations within Israel.

Agent deals like this one should alert any company doing business in Israel about how working with an Israeli company can automatically implicate them in illegal settlement trading, and for the boycott movement it should highlight the importance of focusing on a full Israeli boycott rather than just a settlement one, as the two can not be fully separated.

For a full list of Western Union locations through the Israeli Post see http://www.israelpost.co.il/WL.nsf/6/City.pdf/$file/City.pdf

Western Union and Post Office in Kiryat Arba settlement

Western Union in the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba

Western Union are also present in Efrat

and Ariel...

Quarry site belonging to Merom Golan

The settlers of Merom Golan have establised a quarry site in the occupied Golan heights on Mount Hermonit (Tel as-Sheikh) near Al-Rom junction. The site is thought to extract sand for gardening and making cement.

Merom Golan is an illegal settlement of 497 people established in 1967 on the land of the Syrian village of Al Mansura.

The quarrying at Hermonit is in violation of international law as it constitutes “Destroying or seizing the property of an adversary unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of the conflict.” (war crime,  Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court). Several other settler quarry sites are operating in the occupied Golan Heights.

The machines being used bore the trademarks of Volvo (digger), Ingersoll Rand (Lighting gantry), Telex Supertrax/Turbo Chieftain (conveyer belt).

The site was staffed by Syrian Golan Heights workers. Read the rest of this entry »

Veolia truck picking up rubbish from Tomer settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley

Veolia, possibly the international company providing the largest amount of services to Israel’s illegal settlements, has been observed picking up waste from the settlements of Tomer and Massua in the Jordan Valley. In 2009 Corporate Watch photographed Veolia garbage trucks picking up waste in Massua settlement. Last week we spotted a Veolia vehicle picking up rubbish from Tomer.

Veolia are also part of Citypass, the consortium building the Jerusalem Light Railway on occupied territory, and run bus routes between several of Israel’s illegal settlements. They also run the Tovlan landfill waste dump, again on occupied territory, in the Jordan Valley.

See http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3433 for more details

For more information see Adri Nieuwhof in Electronic Intifada – http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10909.shtml

Veolia collecting rubbish from Massua settlement in the Jordan Valley

Existing Jordan Plains packing house next to the new structure

Last week Corporate Watch revisited the building site for a new packing house on the land of the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council close to Massua settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley. Workers at the site confirmed that the building will be a new date refrigeration house for Jordan Plains. Jordan Plains is a company exporting through Carmel Agrexco.

The construction of the new packing house, on illegally occupied territory, suggests that Agrexco and Jordan Plains intend to extend their export capacity for dates. Palestinians in the area are unable to build any permanent structures at all due to military restrictions, let alone one on this scale. Read the rest of this entry »

Field Produce in the Jordan Valley

Field Produce Dates on sale in Jerusalem

Field Produce, an Israeli date exporter, have several packing house in the occupied Jordan Valley

For more info on Field produce click here

Cargo Terminal Close to Tulkarem

The Nitzanei Shalom settlement industrial zone was built on the land of the West Bank town of Tulkarem in the early eighties.  The land was confiscated by order of the Israeli military. The name means the ‘buds of peace’. Presently the zone houses eight factories owned by Israelis but worked in by Palestinians. The zone has been accused of causing a deterioration in health for the nearby residents of Tulkarem, unsafe working conditions and underpaying workers.

Corporate Watch interviewed several workers from the Solor and Yamit factories:

More info on Solor from Who Profits

More info on Yamit from Who Profits Read the rest of this entry »

Truck marked EDOM UK in Tomer

The Jordan Valley is the Palestinian area most relentlessly exploited by settlement agricultural companies. Most famously campaigners have been focusing on the Israeli national exporter Carmel Agrexco for their illegal exports from the area. However, Corporate Watch has uncovered a new company to add to the target list. During a trip to the area we found a packing house bearing the signage of the Israeli company ‘Edom UK’ (http://www.edom.co.il/), 20% owned by the British company Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk). The packing house is based in the agricultural area of the settlement of Tomer. There was also a truck marked EDOM UK picking up produce from the settlement. Read the rest of this entry »

Bobcat machines in Katzerin

Katzerin is a settlement of 6444 people situated in the occupied Golan Height. It was established on the land of the Syrian area of Fakhura.

Simmons – http://www.simmons.com - International mattress company based in US. Simmons have an office in the UK:

Simmons Bedding Group plc
Knight Road, Rochester
Kent, England ME2 2BP
United Kingdom

Lithotech – Produce kidney stones’ removal devices, sold by special agreement worldwide by Cook Urology (USA). See ‘Who Profits’ for more details.

Bobcat – http://www.bobcat.com – Bobcat are a manufacturer of construction equipment who are known to hire equipement, through Emcol, for the construction and maintenance of settlements.  Bobcat Company is a business of Doosan Infracore International, a US-based subsidiary of Doosan Infracore (South Korea). Bobcat machnes were seen working on the road in Katzerin industrial zone. See ‘Who Profits’ for more details. Read the rest of this entry »

Coca Cola delivering to Ariel

We paid a visit to the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, deep inside the West Bank, last week. Here’s a picture of Coca Cola deivering there.

Herbs inside the Halpert Moshe Packing House

Despite increased publicity regarding the labelling of Israeli settlement produce, and the recent DEFRA guidance on the matter which states that produce from the settlements should be labelled as such, it only took us a few minutes inside the illegal Jordan Valley settlement of Mehola to find herbs bound for a British company being mislabelled. Herbs bearing the logo of Fresh Direct, who have their head office in Oxfordshire, were spotted inside the Halpert Moshe ‘fresh herbs’ packing house which operates under the Carmel Agrexco banner. At this location herbs being prepared came with a joint Fresh Direct/Carmel Agrexco label which clearly states the product as being “Produce of Israel”, despite being packaged in an organic farm on an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied West Bank. The label we collected was for 70 grams of sage with the text written in English, indicating that the contents were intended for export to Britain. There were also herbs labelled in German (without the Fresh Direct logo) inside the packing house. Read the rest of this entry »

Yair Bni Menashe Carmel Packing House

The settlement of Mehola is situated in the Northern Jordan Valley. It is comprised of a gated, fenced residential settlement and an agricultural area. The agricultural area is close to the Palestinian village of Ein al Beida and Palestinian workers, including child workers, work in the fields and packing houses. Workers are paid from 60-80 shekels per day, half the Israeli minimum wage, and have no contracts or health insurance. There have been documented incidents of employers in Mehola falsifying wage slips in order to appear to be paying proper wages. Read the rest of this entry »

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