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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 https://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 »

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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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 »

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

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 »

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 »

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 https://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 »

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 https://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.

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

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 »

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 »

Bnei Yehuda settlement was established in 1972 after Israel’s occupation of the Golan heights, it was reportedly set up by workers from Israeli Aircraft Industries (www.iai.co.il). It is on the site of the Syrian area of Scopia which was depopulated when the Israeli military forced most of the Syrian residents of the Golan Heights out of their homes. It now has 1036 residents.

Bnei Yehuda boasts a Carmel Agrexco packing house. Agrexco are the largest exporter of fresh produce from the settlements to Europe and elsewhere.

On the road leading to Bnei Yehuda a factory bearing the Elbit logo can be seen. The factory appears to be manufacturing aircraft. Elbit operate in the UK and are involved in testing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) at ParcAberporth in Wales (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3470).

Near the entrance to Bnei Yehuda industrial area is a sign offering free land to people who want to settle, on the expropriated Syrian land, in Bnei Yehuda.

Sign offering free land for settlers in Bnei Yehuda

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Signpost for Ne'ot Golan

Ne'ot Golan Packing house

The illegal settlement of Ne’ot Golan was established in 1967 after Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. It was established on the land of the Syrian city of Fiq. The above picture is of the apple packing house beonging to the settlement.  Apples from Israeli settlements in the Golan are exported internationally.

In our last News Update, on 5th January 2010, we published an open letter to multinational fruit exporter Fyffes on the subject of trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Corporate Watch had been supplied with a photo of boxes of dates bearing the Fyffes logo inside a packing house in the settlement of Tomer. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Valentines Day in a couple of weeks and tonnes of cut flowers from Israel and the Occupied Territories are set to be exported to Europe. Many of these flowers come from the besieged Gaza Strip, a captive market for Israeli companies like Carmel-Agrexco. Israel has eased its siege on Gaza specifically to allow the export of flowers to Europe through Israeli companies. Roughly 450,000 flowers have been passing through the Gaza crossings each week, bound for the UK, Holland and other parts of Europe. Agrexco’s flowers are also sourced from the occupied West Bank. Read the rest of this entry »

The Christmas period is one of the busiest times of the year for date importers. Tonnes of dates are imported into the UK from illegal Israeli agricultural settlements on Palestinian land. Campaigners have been focusing on Israeli companies, such as Carmel Agrexco, importing these dates into the UK but little is known about Fyffes, a transnational company that has also sourced dates from Israeli settlements.

Read the rest of this entry »

As part of an international day of action against the Languedoc-Rousillon regional council in France, Palestine solidarity campaigners picketed the Maison Languedoc-Rousillon offices in London, Milan, Brussels and Montpelier on 21st November in protest at the council’s plans to build facilities for Carmel-Agrexco in the French harbour of Sete.

Link: www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/11/442075.html
or: www.protection-palestine.org/spip.php?article8021

Original Aricle at http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3475

The calls for a boycott of Israeli goods are gaining increased mainstream credence. Much noise has been made about the British government finally beginning to question Israel on their export of settlement produce. But the single direct result so far has been a freeze on negotiations on an upgrade of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which already gives Israel preferential trade terms with the 27 EU countries. Whilst politicians make symbolic gestures, it is the people of Palestine who feel the harsh reality of Israel’s illegal settlement economy, writes Therezia Cooper.

Read the rest of this entry »

Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. markets most of Israel’s exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, some of which are grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In a court case in November of 2004, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Agrexco is worth half a billion Shekels (nearly £78m) and employs about 500 people. 50% of the company’s shares are owned by the Israeli government, although a ministerial committee last year decided to privatise it [27]. Agrexco’s biggest fresh agricultural produce brand is Carmel. Other brand names include Jaffa and Jordan Plains. The company’s subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS and Dalia (Germany). For more information on Agrexco, see http://www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?page=who_exports_israeli_goods.

British supermarkets account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco’s total exports. The company supplies Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose as well as discounters Lidl and Aldi. Carmel-Agrexco has been the focus of anti-occupation protests and actions. The company’s depot in Swallowfield Way in Hayes, Middlesex, has repeatedly been shut down by protesters

As Palestine solidarity campaigners continue to hold protests and take direct action against Israeli exporter Carmel-Agrexco, the Israeli government tries to ‘confuse’ the boycott campaign against the company by allowing it to export flowers grown in Gaza in a Valentine-special PR exercise.


‘Goodwill gesture’?

On 12th February, two days prior to Valentine’s Day, the Israeli army allowed 25,000 carnation flowers grown by Palestinian growers in the Gaza Strip to cross the border into Israel, through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and be shipped to the Netherlands by Agrexco in time for Valentine. According to the Israeli army, the clearance of the carnations – the first export permitted out of besieged Gaza for more than a year– was in response to a request from the Dutch government, which has apparently been promoting the production of carnations grown in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military spokesman Major Peter Lerner, of the military’s Civil Co-ordination Office, claimed the move was a “goodwill gesture” to the Dutch government, a statement that was later transformed in some media reports to “a goodwill gesture from the Israeli government to the people of Gaza.” Palestinian farmers, however, saw the move merely as “propaganda” and “a publicity stunt”. According to Abdel-Karim Ashour, director of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee in Gaza, “What happened today is only propaganda. It is nothing. The season is almost finished now.”

Too little, too late

The ‘gesture’ came too late to salvage the carnations crop, most of which had either rotted or been fed to sheep. About 70 percent of Gaza’s carnation crop had already been lost due to the Israeli siege, which had prevented growers from importing seeds and pesticides early enough and from exporting their flowers. The situation worsened further following Israel’s brutal 22-day aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza earlier this year. The losses in flower sales suffered by growers in Gaza, who used to export 37 to 40 million carnations a year, are estimated to have already reached $4 million. Major Peter Lerner clearly stated that there were no plans to allow further exports beyond those for Valentine’s Day. The blockade was not lifted for vegetables or Gaza’s traditionally high-quality strawberries. Israel has not allowed any exports from Gaza since June 2007. Further, the carnations were unlikely to reach Europe in time for Valentine’s Day. By Agrexco’s own admission, the flowers would most probably not have been sold on Valentine. “It’s borderline,” said Ishai Sharon of Agrexco in Aalsmeer, Holland. “But even if they don’t make it in time, they can still be sold to Russia and Eastern Europe for [the International] Women’s Day on 8th March.”

Produce of ….?

According to Agrexco, the Gazan flowers will be sold with the label “Product of Gaza Strip”. However, it is often harder to detect the source of flowers than of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Many Agrexco flowers grown in Israel or the Occupied Territories are sold on or packed in Holland and labelled accordingly. It is widely known now that some of the ‘Israeli’ fresh produce exported through Agrexco is grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. In a court case in November 2004, the general manager of Agrexco UK at that time, Amos Orr, testified that his company markets 60 to 70 percent of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. markets most of Israel’s exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. 50 percent of the company’s shares are owned by the Israeli government and 25 percent by an Israeli settlers cooperative called Tnuva, although a ministerial committee last year decided to privatise it (see here).

The company is worth half a billion Israeli Shekels (approximately £78m) and employs about 500 people. Agrexco’s biggest fresh produce brand is Carmel. Other brand names include Jaffa, Coral and Jordan Plains. The company’s subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS and Dalia (Germany). For more information on Agrexco, see here.

‘We don’t want your bloodstained flowers’

Under the slogan “Don’t flirt with Israeli Apartheid – Boycott Israeli goods”, the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign (BIG) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called for a ‘mass picket’ at the Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, on 7th February, as part of an international week of action against Agrexco. About 70 protesters gathered at the warehouse, surrounded by a massive number of cops, who blockaded the depot since early morning. On 12th Feb, a group of 15 women locked themselves to the gates of Carmel-Agrexco’s depot to stop the delivery of Valentines roses. They were met with heavy force from security and police. Emma Goldman, a member of the London Anarchafeminist Kollective, said: “This Valentine’s Day, women in Palestine will be struggling to piece their society together against the brute force of the occupation. Carmel-Agrexco, a state-owned company, is at the heart of Israel’s colonisation and exploitation of Palestinian land.” On 23th February, a small protest was held at the London headquarters of Apax Partners, a UK-based private equity giant that holds a majority stake in Israeli agricultural co-op Tnuva, which owns 25 percent of Agrexco Agricultural Export Company. Earlier in the morning, an anonymous protester had D-locked the building’s main door, causing some disruption to the baffled employees arriving to work (see here).

The campaign against Carmel-Agrexco in the UK has been growing ever since seven activists blockaded the company’s depot in Hayes in November 2004 for over 11 hours, using metal fencing. The ensuing prosecution of the blockaders failed after campaigners argued that Agrexco was ancillary to Israeli war crimes under the International Criminal Court Act 2001. In September 2005, a Judge ruled that Agrexco (UK) must prove that their business was lawful. Charged with proving that the lawfulness of their business, Carmel-Agrexco withdrew their case. The acquittal of the seven activists before they were able to present their defence, however, meant that the court did not have to rule on the legality of Agrexco-Carmel’s involvement in the supply of produce from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since then, dozens of blockades have occurred each year; Carmel’s offices have been subject to extensive damage by protesters; and their depot occupied. Yet, the company has not been willing to take prosecutions against campaigners for fear of having their business practices exposed and questioned in court.

For more on the actions against Carmel Agrexco in the UK over the years, see Indymedia UK’s special topic page.

Original articale at http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3209

On the second big Gaza solidarity march in London on 10th January, angry protesters smashed the front of a Starbucks store on Kensington High St, near the Israeli embassy, while other activists occupied the Ahava beauty shop in central London.

Other actions in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza that month included occupying the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London, ‘decommissioning’ the ITT/EDO arms factory in Brighton and university occupations across the country calling for divestment. So, who are these companies and why are they being targeted by protesters and campaigners?

Corporate Watch takes a detailed look.

Palestine_CW_report (PDF)

VisionOnTV and Corporate Watch host a video feed of grassroots films about resistance to corporate power. Every month we will showcase one of these films. All films are collected at http://corporatewatch.visionon.tv.

This month we have chosen Boycott Carmel-Agrexco, a short film about the campaign against Carmel-Agrexco. Carmel-Agrexco is an Israeli agricultural export company importing fresh produce into the UK from Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3192). The film features interviews with Palestinians working for Carmel-Agrexco and direct actions against the company in the UK. Watch the film here.

Human rights activists shut down the Carmel-Agrexco depot in Hayes, Middlesex, for 12 hours on 28 September, 2008, as part of a week of action called by the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign. Both gates to the depot were blocked, with four protesters locking themselves inside a cage blocking one gate, while another was D-locked to the other. At least 14 trucks were prevented from entering the premises during the day. Read the rest of this entry »

An Israeli ministerial committee has decided that Agrexco Agricultural Export Company Ltd. is to be privatised. The company, which is worth half a billion Shekel (nerly £78m) and employees some 500 people, markets most of Israel’s exports of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. Agrexco’s biggest fresh agricultural produce brand is Carmel. British supermarkets account for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco’s total exports. Read the rest of this entry »

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Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook

Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Handbook