Maariv: Targeted boycott and divestment pushing companies out of the settlements

The cover story of this morning’s (June 21 2010) Maariv business section reports that targeted boycott and divestment actions — Israeli, Palestinian and international — are pushing an increasing number of Israeli companies out of the West Bank settlements and into Israeli proper:

He [Yaakov Malach, CEO and owner of a company located at the Barkan Industrial Zone] says, “there is not a single factory in Barkan today that is not searching for alternative locations inside Israel, particularly if the construction freeze continues.” 

However, other factory owners are not willing to discuss the matter at the moment, for fear of prematurely harming their workers.  “Clearly, we’re concerned, and we are also examining things, but we don’t want to reveal the name of the factory,” a CEO of one of the largest factories in the area told Ma’ariv.

Along with this, Avraham Barkan, director of the Jezreel-Afula industrial zone administration, reports that he has received a number of requests from owners and managers of factories located over the Green Line, regarding the relocation of their activity to the Alon Tavor industrial park. 

Barkan attributes this to the factories’ fear of a shortage of workers as of the start of 2011, because of the Palestinian boycott, and to the fear that the construction freeze will continue

On June 17 2010, Calcalist’s Weekend Supplement profiled Who Profits?, the organization that compiles much of the data enabling targeted action:

Dr. Dalit Baum and Merav Amir watched all of that media noise from the side. They prefer to remain behind the scenes: to manufacture the thunder but to be away from the stage when it rolls into the media. The two are responsible for the project “Who Profits From the Occupation” that maps Israeli companies that earn money from the Israeli presence in the territories.

Baum and Amir, with another 10-20 activists, do an in-depth study of each company, “based on stock exchange reports, newspaper reports and more,” explains Amir.

Full translations of both articles are posted below.

Factories over Green Line looking for way back

Ronit Morgenstern, Maariv, June 21 2010 [business section cover story; Hebrew original here]

Ma’ariv has learned that the Achva factory, which is located in the Barkan industrial zone in Samaria, over the Green Line, is examining the possibility of relocating its factory for manufacturing halva and tehina into the boundaries of the Green Line. 

The revenues of the factory, which is the leading factory for halva in Israel and one of the leading manufacturers of tehina and pastries, come to about NIS 100 million per year.

Yaakov Malach, CEO and owner of the company, which exports about 25% of its products, says that he is encountering increasing difficulties on the part of clients in Europe, because he is situated over the Green Line.  “Selfridges of London took our products off the shelf in the past,” Malach relates, and adds that “it is difficult to reach sales points in Europe because of the fact that our products are marked as ‘Made in the West Bank.’”

Malach adds that the company also absorbs the special 7% tariff that is imposed on products manufactured over the Green Line, in order to keep his European clients.  “Now the situation is even more complicated because of the Palestinian boycott, which affects clients abroad. 

What will break us down, and other factories in Barkan, is the fact that starting on January 1, 2011 Palestinian workers will no longer be permitted to work in Israeli factories over the Green Line.”

Achva has recently invested some NS 35 million of its capital in setting up a new pastry factory in the Ariel industrial zone, near Barkan. 

“Despite the large investment, and despite the fact that we have prepared a nearby area for transferring the halva and tehina factory from the Barkan industrial zone to the site in Ariel, we are preparing an alternative within the Green Line, and examining sites along the Trans-Israel Highway,” Malach explains.

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