Tag Archives: Dates

Poverty wages and child labour in the settlement of Beit Ha’Arava: Conditions for settlement workers in the Jordan Valley – Part two

The gates of Beit Ha'Arava settlement, closed to Palestinians except settlement workers - photo taken by Corporate Watch, January 2013

The gates of Beit Ha’Arava settlement, closed to Palestinians except settlement workers – photo taken by Corporate Watch, January 2013

During January and February 2013 Corporate Watch conducted interviews with Palestinians who work in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. Part one of our findings can be viewed here.

We met Fares*, Younes* and Jammal* near the Northern West Bank town of Tammoun in February 2013. Fares and Jammal were 23 years old at the time and Younes was 20. They had been working as agricultural labourers in the Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley settlements for between nine and seven years. All three workerd in the settlement of Beit Ha’Arava, close to the Dead Sea in the Southern Jordan Valley. According to our interviewees Beit Ha’Arava used to supply fresh produce to Carmel Agrexco before its liquidation in 2010, now the settlement grow the majority of its produce for the Arava and Edom export companies. Continue reading

Mislabelled Morrisons own brand packaging found in illegal Israeli settlement Tomer

Labels manufactured for packaging Morrisons own brand Medjoul dates in the illegal Israeli settlement of Tomer

Labels manufactured for packaging Morrisons own brand Medjoul dates found in the illegal Israeli settlement of Tomer

On February 9th a coalition of civil society groups has called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli militarism, apartheid and colonisation. Corporate Watch researchers are in Palestine collecting new information and over the coming weeks Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles and blogs examining Israeli agricultural exports.

In January 2013 Corporate Watch obtained labels for Morrisons own brand Medjoul dates from the Israeli settlement of Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley. The labels were for produce with an expiry date in December 2012 and the store has confirmed that they were produced for dates exported during the last Ramadan season. The exporter was the Israeli date growers cooperative Hadiklaim (see here). Continue reading

EDOM: Still sourcing products from Tomer settlement

On February 9th 2013 a coalition of civil society groups has called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli militarism, apartheid and colonisation. Corporate Watch researchers are in Palestine collecting new information and over the coming weeks Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles and blogs examining Israeli agricultural exports.

Corporate Watch has obtained evidence that EDOM, a partly British owned agricultural export company, is still exporting fresh produce from the illegal settlement of Tomer. On Wednesday 16th January 2013 researchers acquired EDOM branded packaging which had been taken from Tomer settlement. The packaging had been mislabelled as coming from a kibbutz in 1948 Israel. The company director has previously pledged not to stock goods from the settlements.

EDOM supply to several major British supermarkets, including Waitrose and Sainsburys, through the British company Valley Grown Salads, based in Essex.

Edom packaging found in the illegal settlement of Tomer

Edom packaging found in the illegal settlement of Tomer

Continue reading

Partnership between South African and Israeli Agribusiness fuels Apartheid

A South African fruit grower is selling dates to an Israeli settler company.

Since writing about Hadiklaim’s business in the Jordan Valley, Corporate Watch has been overwhelmed by questions about boxes of Hadiklaim dates labelled ‘Produce of South Africa’. These dates are sold to Hadiklaim by Karsten Farms, a South African fruit growing group, and then packaged under the Jordan River or Kalahari brandnames and exported to Europe. Continue reading

Hadiklaim in the Jordan Valley

Hadiklaim is an Israeli date growers cooperative which deals with several major supermarkets in the UK, including Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Waitrose (although the Co Op and Marks and Spencer maintain that they only stock Hadiklaim products from 1948 Israel). The company boasts that it exports to 30 countries (see http://www.hadiklaim.com/company_customers.asp). Tesco and Marks and Spencer branded dates are Hadiklaim produce.

The Hadiklaim cooperative includes date growers from 1948 Israel, mostly the South, and from the settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s website portrays the company as one which deals only with 1948 Israel; listing growers in Beit Shean, the Kinneret, the Arava, Eilat and (ambiguosly)’the Dead Sea region’. However, the company also exports from the Israels settlements in the Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s statements in the Israeli Hebrew language media are markedly different – the companies CEO has stated in YNet that the occupied Jordan Valley is an important area for Hadiklaim. Continue reading

Mehadrin’s business in Beqa’ot settlement – and Tesco’s Complicity

Settler greenhouses in Beqa'ot

Beqa’ot is an illegal settlement located in the Jordan Valley. Established in 1972, it is agriculturally focused and controls around 1800 dunums of land which were stolen from surrounding Palestinian areas, such as the Bedouin community of Al Hadidya. Beqa’ot is a grower for the Israeli company Mehadrin Tnuport Export (MTEX), a part of the huge Mehadrin Group which also owns 50% of STM Agricultural Exports Ltd -another Israeli company dealing in vegetables. MTEX export around 70% of all their produce to outside Israel and are one of the largest suppliers for the Jaffa brand world wide. According to Palestinian workers in the settlement, Mehadrin has had a monopoly on exports from there for around two years. Before that they also used to work with Carmel Agrexco. Some Arava boxes were also spotted inside the settlement packing area. Continue reading

Agrexco Exporting from Kibbutz Kalia

Agrexco's Packing House near Kalia

Corporate Watch paid a visit to Agrexco’s packing house on the land of the illegal settlement of Kibbutz Kalia, on the Northern Coast of the Dead Sea, during April 2010. The packing house is next to fields of date palms. Thai migrant workers could be seen tending to the palms from cherypickers. Inside the packing house herbs were being packed into boxes marked ‘Carmel ECOFRESH: Produce of Kibbutz Kalia, USA’. ECOFRESH is one of Agrexco’s newer brands which is supposed to represent better food quality (see, for example, http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/articles.aspx?page=articles&ID=52941). Workers inside told us that the herbs were being exported to the US. Continue reading

Update on new Settlement Packing House in the Jordan Valley

Existing Jordan Plains packing house next to the new structure

Last week Corporate Watch revisited the building site for a new packing house on the land of the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council close to Massua settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley. Workers at the site confirmed that the building will be a new date refrigeration house for Jordan Plains. Jordan Plains is a company exporting through Carmel Agrexco.

The construction of the new packing house, on illegally occupied territory, suggests that Agrexco and Jordan Plains intend to extend their export capacity for dates. Palestinians in the area are unable to build any permanent structures at all due to military restrictions, let alone one on this scale. Continue reading

Field Produce in the Jordan Valley

Field Produce in the Jordan Valley

Field Produce Dates on sale in Jerusalem

Field Produce, an Israeli date exporter, have several packing house in the occupied Jordan Valley

For more info on Field produce click here

Response from Fyffes

In our last News Update, on 5th January 2010, we published an open letter to multinational fruit exporter Fyffes on the subject of trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Corporate Watch had been supplied with a photo of boxes of dates bearing the Fyffes logo inside a packing house in the settlement of Tomer. Continue reading