News / Middle East

    Palestinians Lose Jobs as Israeli Company Relocates

    Palestinians Lose Jobs as Israeli Company Movesi
    X
    March 01, 2016 5:10 AM
    An Israeli company that manufactures devices for making fizzy drinks at home was forced to lay off its Palestinian workers after relocating from the West Bank to Israel because the Israeli government refused to give them work permits. Some Israeli businesses are leaving the occupied Palestinian territories under the pressure of worldwide criticism and a Palestinian-led boycott campaign. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, Palestinians do not necessarily benefit from their departure.
    Zlatica Hoke

    An Israeli company that manufactures devices for making fizzy drinks at home was forced to lay off its Palestinian workers after relocating from the West Bank to Israel because the Israeli government refused to give them work permits. Some Israeli businesses are leaving the occupied Palestinian territories under the pressure of worldwide criticism and a Palestinian-led boycott campaign.

    The SodaStream plant in the southern Israeli town of Levahim was forced to let go of the last 74 of its Palestinian employees Monday. They came with the company after its West Bank plant closed in October.

    "There is no hope in Palestine. There is little work; we can't be happy there like we were happy here," said Anas Abdul Wadud Ghayth, a Palestinian who worked for SodaStream.

    The management said it would fight the government's decision.

    "If the government of Israel does not allow the Palestinians to get to their jobs, I will bring those jobs to the Palestinians. That is not a threat. It is a fact," said Daniel Birnbaum, SodaStream’s CEO.

    The company employed about 500 Palestinians in its West Bank plant, but decided to close it after a Palestinian-led call for the boycott of Israeli products proved effective.

    "The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is one of the most peaceful and non-violent forms of resistance of the Palestinian people to achieve freedom, justice and peace. It's not against Jewish or Israeli people; it's against apartheid, against occupation, against the policy of the Israeli government which is preventing peace here. And like it has succeeded against apartheid in South Africa at one point in time, it will succeed in Palestine," said Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian legislator.

    The movement has its supporters worldwide. Last year, the European Union imposed a labeling regulation requiring Israeli companies to clearly mark whether their products were made in the occupied territories.

    FILE - Employees pack boxes of SodaStream appliances at its factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim Jan. 28, 2014.
    FILE - Employees pack boxes of SodaStream appliances at its factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim Jan. 28, 2014.

    Israel resists BDS

    The Israeli government is calling such moves anti-Semitic and is launching its own campaign to suppress them, including an effort to bring U.S. celebrities to Israel.

    "We are inviting the Oscar nominees, and those whom they decide to take along with them, for a dreamy visit in Israel," said Amir Halevi, the director general of Israel’s tourism ministry.

    The invite has been fiercely resisted by a U.S. group campaigning for an end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

    "We think it's important at this time that they (the celebrities) think about the issue of Palestine as well and not take the bait and not take the trip to act as apartheid lackeys in this casting call by the Israeli government," said Yousef Munayer of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation.

    Even some Jewish groups support economic pressure on Israel to halt the construction of settlements. But last month, the British government banned the public sector boycotts of Israeli suppliers, giving a boost to Israel's battle against a Palestinian-led international boycott campaign.

    You May Like

    Multimedia US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sensi
    March 02, 2016 2:33 AM
    "The company employed about 500 Palestinians in its West Bank plant, but decided to close it after a Palestinian-led call for the boycott of Israeli products proved effective."

    That's an unsubstantiated if not debunked claim entertained by part of our so-called "free press" -not so subtly trying to shift the blame for these Palestinians layoffs on the BDS movement- despite the statements of this company very own officials! Shameful yet so usual.

    "[SodaStream's CEO] Birnbaum denies that the BDS campaign had any effect on the decision to move the factory, saying the company needed more space. He blames the job losses entirely on a "tangled" Israeli bureaucracy, adding that if Israeli leaders were truly interested in promoting peace, they would have found a way to grant permits to all the Palestinian employees." (AP)

    by: Don Jeep from: Cebu Philippines
    March 02, 2016 2:31 AM
    Europe boycott poorly thought out. There is plenty of room outside of the West Bank for Israel to move many plants. It will only hurt the Muslim workers as they will not be able to follow their jobs. So who does the boycott hurt.
    The world boycotted South Africa to force regime change. Who did it hurt in the long run. Black South Africa went from a first rate modern country to a 3rd rate country that has trouble keeping the lights on. Yes that boycott really worked. Now the followers of Mandella all have very large bank accounts in Switserland and the rest of the people have a hard time finding work. But it's ok, is is now a black on black crime

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 01, 2016 1:30 PM
    "There’s no hope in Palestine…; we can't be happy there like we were happy here," Monologue Palestinian enclave cannot bring peace/happiness. Despite its masks, no totalitarian society (like Islamic/Arab countries) can have real peace/happiness for its people. Societies are better mixed. Failure of this between Israel/Palestinians blamed on Europe/Palestinians.

    This is boomerang! Now they’re losing jobs which their extremist Hamas cannot provide while the international community assisted by the Palestinian boycott team and EU should take bulk of the blame for Palestinians losing their jobs whose major benefits go beyond the earnings to the happiness they afford which could in turn foster greater interaction/peace/cooperation in the search for security in the region.

    It’s wrong to compare Israel’s relations with the Palestinians with apartheid South Africa, because they have no correlation. Instead the friction here is fostered by the refusal of the Palestinians to live in peace with Israel, the land-owners. This becomes yardstick to understand what’s going to happen in Europe soon when the so-called migrant population has settled in – they will try to unsettle the population as they’re doing in Israel and CAR right now.
    In Response

    by: dogday from: US
    March 01, 2016 2:45 PM
    Godwin is a little out of touch. "Peace" with Israel means giving up all of Palestinian land, period. That's why there is no peace.

    As for BDS -- this is a worldwide peaceful movement like the movement that impacted Apartheid in S. Africa. It is inevitable that there will be social disruptions as BDS moves forward. In S. Africa, the argument was made that boycott hurt black Africans as well. While this is true in passing, the goals are worth the disruptions as is plain from the S. African experience.

    Note also: The USA was the last country to sign on to the boycott of S. Africa and will be the last to sign on to this boycott as well. This is because of the US's long experience with racism, which it is unable to put behind itself currently.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora