News / Economy

First Factory Opens in West Bank Industrial Zone

First Factory Opens in West Bank Industrial Zonei
X
Scott Bobb
April 03, 2014 6:38 PM
A new factory has opened in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. It is the first paper product plant in the history of the ancient city and the first company to open in a new industrial zone set up by the Palestinian Authority. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports.
Scott Bobb
A new factory has opened in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. It is the first paper product plant in the history of the ancient city and the first company to open in a new industrial zone set up by the Palestinian Authority.  
 
It's morning at the Spring Tissues factory on the outskirts of Bethlehem and workers are making rolls of toilet paper. The company started operations two months ago and already produces three tons of toilet tissue rolls a day.
 
Issa Karra’a, founder and marketing director of the company, says there was no such factory before in this city of 60,000 people. Nevertheless competition for customers is stiff.
 
“We have maybe 10 competitors and every competitor has many brands. So it’s difficult to enter the market because we don’t have that experience. We are new. And it’s a big challenge," said Karra’a.
 
This is the first factory in Bethlehem’s new industrial zone, launched several years ago by the Palestinian Authority (with support from France). More than 30 projects are being planned in this and two other zones in Jericho and Jenin, says the Zone Authority’s Marketing Director, Nidal Jabari.
 
“We as the Palestinian government want to create jobs, want to support the entire economy of Palestine by using many tools. One of these tools is the industrial zone," said Jabari.
 
Businessman Jiryes Karra’a, Issa’s father, is helping with the start-up. He is worried because economic growth in the Palestinian territories is stagnating.
 
“If it’s a bad situation, of course we are afraid because if we’re not going to full capacity we have to become a little bit down ]downsize]," he said.
 
Businessmen say restrictions by the Israeli government on Palestinian imports and exports and access to water and electricity present additional challenges.
 
Normally, Spring Tissue employs 15 people and produces several other products, like tissues and paper towels. But today these lines are idle because raw paper stock, which must be imported, is tied up at an Israeli port.
 
Jabari says both Palestinians and Israelis have an interest in promoting Palestinian enterprise.
 
“What we need is to create the peace. We cannot create the peace when these people are very poor. There is no job for them. There is no money for them, no future for them. [So] They are thinking about killing, about bombing," he said.
 
Prosperity is the best weapon against terrorism, he says, but in any case, Palestinian entrepreneurs will survive because they have learned to improvise, and persevere.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.