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Since April 2012 Corporate Watch, and campaigners from the Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, have been in correspondence with B&Q over its sale of products manufactured by Keter Plastics, an Israeli company with a global reach which has a factory in the illegal Barkan settlement industrial zone in the occupied West Bank. Read the rest of this entry »
The latest Israeli offensive in Gaza claimed the lives of 162 Palestinians. Four Israeli civilians and one Israeli soldier have also died as a result of retaliatory rocket attacks. During the evening of Wednesday 21 November a ceasefire was reached but the Israeli siege of Gaza continues.
by Adri Nieuwhof and Basma Salem
On 11 March 2011, the Danish-British security firm G4S announced its exit from some contracts in the West Bank. The company will continue to deliver security services to illegal settlements in the West Bank and to prisons in Israel.
G4S came under scrutiny after Who Profits, part of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, and Danish financial watchdog DanWatch, revealed in November last year that the company supplied equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints, police stations and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons.
Following the disclosure of G4S involvement in the Israeli occupation, which was extensively reported in the Danish media, local politicians from socialist parties in Copenhagen, Gladsaxe, Roskilde, Odense and Aarhus have put the contracts of the municipalities with G4S on the agenda
of their city council. Read the rest of this entry »
I am writing to you from Corporate Watch, a London based research group. We have recently returned from a research trip in the occupied West Bank.
In the West Bank we noted with concern that Vichy promotional material and sales/display areas were set up in several pharmacies in illegal Israeli settlements. We noticed Vichy window displays and products for sale in the settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim (photos attached).
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council calls upon “all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories” (1979). This was strengthened by the International Court of Justice’s 2005 ruling that states should ensure that no assistance is given to the settlements. The construction of settlements like Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim has resulted in home demolitions, expulsions and the fragmentation of the West Bank into isolated cantons.
Will Vichy make moves to ensure that your products are not sold in Israeli settlements?
Impertec/Supergum Industries – One of the companies in Ma’ale Efraim is Impertec ‘Supergum’.
Impertec is part of the ‘Supergum Group’. Impertec and Supergum are sister companies with the same owners. Impertec manufactures gas masks, riot gear and rubber extrusions. Supergum manufacture rubber, plastic and sealing products. Both product ranges have military applications Read the rest of this entry »
Corporate Watch visited the Ma’ale Efraim industrial zone during May 2010. Ma’ale Efraim is the only industrial zone in the Jordan Valley, situated on the road to Nablus. The industrial area is attached to the settlement of Ma’ale Efraim, an illegal settlement home to 1641 colonisers.
Ma’ale Efraim was established as a military settlement in 1978 on land seized by military order. The settlement was civilianized in 1979 and further land was seized as ‘state’ land. To the West of the settlement is an IDF military base.
Ma’ale Efraim industrial zone is largely dormant, a holding exercise to monopolise the land. Many of the factory buildings are empty. However a few Palestinian workers were working in the warehouses.
The above sign shows some of the businesses and type of business working in Maale Efraim:
On Monday 21st November 2010 two campaigners locked themselves inside the Ahava Dead Sea laboratories store in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.
Ahava is an Israeli settler company, owned by the illegal settlements of Kalia and Mitzpe Shalem. The London store has admitted that all the products stocked in the shop, barring tweezers from China, are manufactured in their factory in Mitzpe Shalem. Read the rest of this entry »
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/ ).
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. 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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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
phone: 0097246601717 Fax: 0097246601919 Read the rest of this entry »
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.
Video of work continuing at the Tovlan site here
As Corporate Watch has previously reported (see https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/veolia-taking-out-israels-trash/ and https://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…
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 »
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/ ).
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.
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
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 »
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 is owned in Israel by Orgad Holdings.
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 »
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)
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 »
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 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 »
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.il – Marketing company for greenhouses, sheds etc.
EDOM – http://www.edom.co.il – A 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 – http://www.arv.co.il – Arava 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.
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 »
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 »
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
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
Field Produce, an Israeli date exporter, have several packing house in the occupied Jordan Valley
For more info on Field produce click here
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.
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
A P& O shipping container was seen in the illegal settlement industrial zone of Katzerin this month. It is pictured below.P&O are a British freight and passenger ferry company with offices in Dover (see).
Capernaum Vista Olive farm – www.oleaessence.net: Producers of olive oil and olive oil based skin products. Seem to market themselves primarily over the internet and to wholefood stores. Their contact address is in California.
Nistec – www.nistec.com: Nistec is a high-tech/arms company who opened a new plant in Katzerin in 2009. Nistec also has offices in Petach Tikhvah annd Maalot.
Sealy – http://www.sealy.com: Sealy advertise themselves as ‘America’s best selling mattress company’. They are a multinational company and the factory in Katzerin is run by an Israeli licensee They have a UK base in Cumbria (http://www.sealy.co.uk/contactus.php)
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 . 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
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.