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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 »
Israeli company Soda Club, which owns the Sodastream brandname, is reportedly planning to open a store in Brighton. Read the rest of this entry »
Corporate Watch recently wrote to B&Q concerning the supply of goods manufactured by companies that work out of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. The open letter to B&Q, reproduced below, asked for clarification of whether the store will cease its supply of Keter Plastics products.
In January this year, activists held a protest against the sale of garden sheds made by Keter Plastics, an Israeli company that has a factory in the Barkan settlement industrial zone in the West Bank.
Since then B&Q has pledged, in correspondence with Palestine solidarity campaigners, not to sell products “sourced from conflict zones and/or occupied territories”. However, it remains unclear whether this means that B&Q will discontinue the sale of Keter products, some of which are manufactured outside Israel.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are established on land taken from Palestinian civilians by military force. The settlements are illegal under international law and their illegality is recognised by British Foreign Office policy, which states that the settlements are an “obstacle to peace”.
Barkan, attached to the residential settlement of Ariel, was established in 1982 on the land of the Palestinian villages of Haris, Bruqin and Sarta. The industrial zone hosts a disproportionate number of factories that pollute the environment. For example, waste from Barkan runs down the hillside of the Al-Matwi valley, damaging Palestinian farmland. Palestinian labourers are employed in the industrial zone and are paid, in several documented instances, below the minimum wage and denied the right to unionise.
In the above-mentioned letter to campaigners, Terry Anne Rowland of B&Q’s Customer Care Team said: “we will work with our suppliers to identify which, if any, products are manufactured in countries associated with conflict/occupation (eg Afghanistan/Israel) and seek confirmation that the product has not, at any stage been made by a company operating in a conflict zone or occupied territories. We will put in place exit strategies for the product and/or supplier where progress to our aim, over a defined period, is not achieved.”
Corporate Watch welcomes the sentiments expressed in the letter but would like to clarify whether this statement means that B&Q will no longer deal with Keter Plastics.
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:
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 »
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/ ).
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
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.
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)
In a climate in which the call for a consumer boycott of Israeli goods is finally gaining strength, one area of Israel’s economy is, as yet, surprisingly under-researched. Most of Israel’s industrial zones in the West Bank are connected to illegal residential settlements and provide an indispensable economic backbone to the local settler economy. Mishor Adumim is the second largest industrial zone in the Occupied Territories and the one through which the Palestinians have the most to lose. Read the rest of this entry »
Kav LaOved, an Israeli workers’ rights organisation which provides support and advocacy for Palestinian workers in the West Bank, has issued a call for solidarity with workers from several factories based in the Barkan industrial settlement, built on stolen Palestinian land in the Salfit governorate. Read the rest of this entry »