Monthly Archives: April 2010

Dear Corporation – An Open Letter to Valley Grown Salads

UPDATE (12/05/10) – Valley Grown Salads and EDOM have replied to this letter claiming that the packing house in Tomer belongs not to them but to a grower that they have worked with in the past. They say that this grower is not part of their ‘supply base’ any more although they have  ‘purchased from him’ on one occassion this season. EDOM claim that they have instructed the grower to take down the EDOM sign at the packing house in Tomer.

More updates soon.

An open Letter to Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk)

Truck marked EDOM UK in Tomer

To Whom it may Concern

I am writing to you from Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org). Corporate Watch has, recently, been undertaking research in Palestine and has noted, with concern, that EDOM UK, an Israeli company in which your company holds a 20% share, operate a packing house in the illegal settlement of Tomer (pictures at http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/uk-company-exporting-from-jordan-valley-settlements/). Continue reading

Reasons to be cheerful(ish): the boycott as seen from the occupied Jordan Valley

Despite the fact that there is -as demonstrated by this web-site- clearly a lot of more work to be done for people campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel, a recent visit to the Jordan Valley confirmed that there are plenty of reasons for the BDS movement to take stock of its successes. Continue reading

Beresheet: Exporting the Fruits of Occupation

Trucks in Beresheet's depot in the illegal settlement of Merom Golan

Beresheet (www.pri-beresheet.co.il), an Israeli fruit export and marketing company based in the Galilee and Golan Heights, has a depot and packing house in the illegal settlement of Merom Golan. The company has dozens of plantations on illegal settlements in the Golan heights (see their plantation map) and advertises that it exports to Europe. Beresheet advertise apple, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, kiwi fruit, lychees, pears and persimmons on their website.  An address in Merom Golan is given as their main contact address on their site. Continue reading

Corporate Watch in the Golan Heights: Merom Golan

The entrance to the illegal israeli settlement of Merom Golan

Merom Golan (www.merom-golan.org.il) is an illegal Israeli settlement in the Northern Golan heights. It was established in 1967, after Israel’s invasion and military occupation of the area.  Merom Golan was established on land belonging to the Syrian area of Al Mansura. It now has a population of 497 people. Continue reading

Agriculture in El Rom Settlement

El Rom is an illegal settlement, established in 1971, in the Northern Golan heights. El rom is situated on the land previously occupied by the Syrian settlements of Ein el-Hajal and Buq’aata. The settlement has 300-350 residents. There is now a large expanse of apple fields, possibly bound for export, stretching toward the border on the far side of the road from El Rom.

The fruit export company, Beresheet, advertise that ‘kibbutz’ El Rom is one of their partners (see ).

When Corporate Watchers visited El Rom in February 2010, a car belonging to the Golan Heights winery (which is based in the illegal settlement of Katzerin) was seen leaving the settlement. The Golan Heights Winery lists El Rom as one of the places where they have vineyards, the other illegal settlements where the winery grows its grapes are Alonei Habashan, Gshur, Yonatan, Mevo Hama, Merom Golan, Nov, Kidmat Tzvi, Ramot Naftali, Ein Zivan, Ramot Mashimim, Tel Fares and Sha’al.

El Rom is also trying to market itself as part of the Golan settlements tourist trail with a ‘movie experience’, advertised from the highway, where visitors can watch a film about the Yom Kippur war, should they so wish.

Apple Fields belonging to El Rom

El Rom's 'Movie Experience'

Netiv Hagdud and Gilgal

Date Palms near Gilgal settlement

Netiv Hagdud and Gilgal are two illegal Israeli settlements set back from Route 90 South of Fasayil and Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley. Between the two settlements is a fenced agricultural area which exports fruit and vegetables internationally. Produce in Waitrose has previously been seen bearing the label ‘Netiv Hagdud’. In March Corporate Watch paid the two settlements a visit. Continue reading

IATA: Supporting settler tourism

Efrat Travel and Tours

An IATA ‘accredited agent sign in the window of Efrat Tours in Efrat settlement

Efrat is a settlement of close to 10.000 people located near Bethlehem in the West Bank. A visit there revealed that the settlement’s own travel agent, Efrat Tours: Travel and Tourism is an accredited agent of IATA -the international Air Transport Association- which has its headquarters in Canada. IATA describes the aim of its business as representing, leading and serving the airline industry. The company also maintains the Timatic database, which contains cross border passenger documentation requirements.

Continue reading

Corporations in Tomer Settlement

TDP Export sign in Tomer

Tomer is an illegal Israeli settlement of nearly 300 people close to the Palestinian community of Fasayil. It employs Palestinian and Thai workers, the bosses are Israeli. Tomer was established in 1976 on the lands of the people of Fasayil, Al Auja and other nearby Palestinian communities.

Some companies working inside Tomer:

TBP Export - www.tbp-export.com – Have a packing house in Tomer. They are, according to their website, an international marketing company for fresh produce set up by two Israeli agricultural companies, Mor-Li and Bar-Mor. Despite basing its packing house on an illegal settlement TBP export boasts that it is certified by EUREPGAP, an international certifier of  “good agricultural practice”. They are also approved to British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards, suggesting they are marketing their goods in Britain. The company advertise potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, peppers, herbs and organic products. TBP list many locations where they source their produce, although not the Jordan Valley. TBP does list Beit Shean and the Arava as two of their growing areas, the areas directly North and South of the valley. TBP’s contact address is in Ein Vered near Israel’s South Coast. TBP use the brandname ‘Rimon’, Corporate Watchers saw a truck emblazoned with this logo picking up produce from Tomer.

Carmel Agrexco – www.agrexco.co.il – Agrexco has several packing houses in Tomer and several Agrexco vans could be seen visiting the settlement every day.  Agrexco are the largest agricultural company operating in the Jordan Valley and use the brandnames Carmel, Jaffa, Biotop, Coral, Jordan Plains, Alesia and Ecofresh. Agrexco subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS, Dalia (Germany). Agrexco have a regional office in the occupied Jordan Valley, at the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council, and are building a new refrigeration centre there. The company operates packing houses in most of the Jordan Valley settlements including Netiv Hagdud, Ro’i, Argaman, Mehola and Bet HaArava .

There has been a long running direct action campaign against Carmel Agreco in the UK (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2008/carmelagrexco/).  Activists have repeatedly shut down Agrexco’s depot in Hayes, Middlesex, with blockades and occuptions. In 2006 a case against campaigners who had blockaded the company’s premises was dropped after the defendants had obtained disclosure from the company of its business in the occupied territories. The managing director, Amos Orr, stated in court that 60-70% of all produce from the West Bank was exported through Agrexco.

Carmel’s site boasts that they have branches in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rotterdam, New York, Zurich, Vienna, Madrid and Milan. Several interviews with Carmel workers in the Jordan Valley by Corporate Watch and the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group (www.brightonpalestine.org) have found that workers picking fruit and vegetables for the company in the occupied Jordan Valley are paid 70 – 75 shekels (about 13 pounds), less than half the Israeli minimum wage.

Nirav – www.nirav.co.il – Marketing company for greenhouses, sheds etc.

EDOM – www.edom.co.il – A partially British owned company. More info at http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/further-information-about-edom-uk-signs-of-more-mislabelling/. Continue reading

Corporations in Tomer Settlement Part 2

Arava Export Packing House in Tomer

Arava – www.arv.co.il – Arava Export Growers is the third largest agricultural export company in Israel, with export sales of about € 60 million. It is 50% owned by B. Gaon Holdings and 50% by farmers in the Arava region of Israel. Arava advertise that their products comply to organic EUREGAP and British Retail Consortium Standards, suggesting a focus on exports to Europe. Arava have a sales office in the UK run by Mill Associates. Arava have subsidiaries in the US and Holland with head offices in New York and Bleiswijk respectively.

Corporations in the East Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev

Blockbuster franchise in Pisgat Ze'ev

Pisgat Ze’ev, with a population of over 50.000, is the largest settlement in occupied East Jerusalem and an area that pops up frequently in debates about Israeli settlement expansion. One month ago the area made the headlines when Obama criticised the Israeli government’s plans for 600 new housing units there. Situated just east of the Palestinian Shu’fat refugee camp, Pisgat Ze’ev is a strategically important location for the Israelis in their attempt to maintain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. It is also the end stop for one of the branches of the controversial Jerusalem Light Railway, which will connect illegal settlements to west Jerusalem and the old city. However, international companies still seem happy to trade there, as Blockbusters and Pizza Hut both have franchises in the Pisgat Ze’ev mall and the surrounding area. There is also an Orange mobile phone shop there. Orange Israel is owned by the Israeli Partner Communications Company Ltd and not connected to Orange owned by French Telecom. However, the Orange brand name is used under licence, hence representing the endorsement of the mother company. Continue reading