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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8058
JPY
USD
118.30
GBP
USD
0.6378
CAD
USD
1.1249
INR
USD
61.909

Rates may not be current.