Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Bethlehem industrial zone is struggling to find investors

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The Bethlehem Multidisciplinary Industrial Park -a joint project between Palestine and France. Photo: Corporate Watch, January 2013

The Bethlehem Multidisciplinary Industrial Park (BMIP) is an industrial zone located near the Palestinian village of Hindaza in Southern Bethlehem. A joint project between the Palestinian Authority (through the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zones Authority PIEFZA) and the French Government (through the French Development Agency’s grant of 10 million Euros), the business venture was initiated in 2008, with an official ‘opening’ taking place in the spring 2010. The project is being described as an ‘eco park’ and is planned to cover around 50 hectares of land once finished and trade commences. According to the BMIP website the park aims to support employment for Palestinians in the Bethlehem area and offer training for youths and students. Continue reading

John Deere and the exploitation of occupied land

Signage on a packing house in the illegal settlement of Na'ama on the occupied Jordan Valley: 'When the great join hands -Amir + John Deere'. Photo: Corporate Watch, January 2013

Signage on a packing house in the illegal settlement of Na’ama on the occupied Jordan Valley: ‘When the great join hands -Amir + John Deere’. Photo: Corporate Watch, January 2013

John Deere (Deere and Company), the American manufacturer of agricultural machinery and irrigation equipment is partnering with Israeli companies which advertise John Deere equipment in a West Bank settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley.

A sign on a packing house in the settlement of Na’ama (also know as Na’omi) reads “When the great join hands, Amir + John Deere, the combination is great” (the original slogan in Hebrew rhymes). Under the John Deere logo it says “marketed by Kalrom”. Kalrom is an Israeli company which imports and markets agricultural and industrial equipment. The Amir referred to is Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd, which does just what it says on the tin and has a branch in the nearby settlement of Tomer.

John Deere equipment in use at a settlement farm in nearby Beqa'ot, photo taken by Corporate Watch in February 2013

John Deere equipment in use at a settlement farm in nearby Beqa’ot, photo taken by Corporate Watch in February 2013

Corporate Watch contacted John Deere to ask them about their partnerships with Israeli companies working in Na’ama. The company replied that their “official National Dealer for Israel is the company MIFRAM located in Haifa. West Bank is not part of their assigned territory”. Mifram is an Israeli company which has provided services to the Israeli army and Ministry of Defence. John Deere did not provide any answers to our questions regarding Kalrom and Amir. However, a quick web search reveals that Kalrom’s parent company is Mifram, John Deere’s partner, and that Kalrom has carried out the work on John Deere projects for Mifram in the past. Shipping documents show that Kalrom/Mifram have imported agricultural equipment from John Deere via Houston in the US to Haifa, Israel.

If the West Bank is, indeed, not part of Kalrom/Mifram’s assigned territory then why is the company advertising John Deere products in an illegal settlement?

Continue reading

Corporate Watch condemns police harassment

Corporate Watch researchers are repeatedly subjected to police harassment:

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This year, three of Corporate Watch’s researchers have been stopped at international border crossings and questioned by the police under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (see here for example). Two of them were threatened with arrest if they failed to answer intrusive police questions and were asked a number of questions about Corporate Watch. Continue reading

Fighting repression of our movements

Tom Anderson, a researcher for Corporate Watch, has been stopped under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act powers and was followed by a police Forward Intelligence Team after leaving a demonstration last week. In this article Tom, talking from the perspective of an independent media journalist involved in anarchist, anti-capitalist and anti-corporate movements, urges these movements to resist police surveillance and harassment with a renewed militancy.

The police surveillance experienced by members of the Corporate Watch cooperative over the past year is indicative of a recent change of police tactics. A new fightback against the police Forward Intelligence and Liaison teams is needed if our movements are to remain effective. Continue reading

Statement from Freedom Bookshop about police harassment

Freedom Bookshop was subject to an arson attack on the first of February this year and, while the police have failed to arrest anyone for this, you might think this was the reason for a heightened police presence around the building on the week after the English Defence League tried to march in Whitechapel. Continue reading

TripAdvisor includes guesthouse in illegal Israeli settlement in its listings

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Holiday Village in the illegal settlement of Almog in the occupied Jordan Valley. Photo: Corporate Watch, February 2013

This blog is part of a series of articles highlighting tourism to illegal settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Occupied Syrian Golan. For more detailed information about tourism in the Jordan Valley, see our article Occupation Tourism: Hiding the Ugly Truth about the settlement of Vered Yeriho, located only a short drive from Almog.

TripAdvisor is a travel website featuring reviews of hotels and restaurants around the world. In February 2013, Corporate Watch visited a guesthouse in Almog, a settlement situated on occupied Palestinian territory and found Trip Advisor stickers displayed. A quick search on TripAdvisor revealed that the site lists Almog Holiday Village as being situated within Israel.

One TripAdvisor user commented “this kibbutz is in the West Bank. And not just barely, it’s about as far into the West Bank as you can get without being in Jordan. Saying this kibbutz is in ‘Israel’ is relatively misleading since the only country who thinks this is Israel, is Israel. Even the US recognizes this land as the West Bank and disputed land. Personally this made me feel somewhat uncomfortable, because this is a settlement.” Continue reading