Tag Archives: Golan Heights

Open letter to venere.com

We are writing to ask you to stop providing online advertising services to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kibbutz Afik in the Israeli occupied Golan.

The Syrian Golan was occupied by military force by Israel in 1967. Towns, villages and cities of the indigenous Syrian residents were razed and 131, 000 of the residents forcibly expelled. The area remains under military occupation and has been colonised by Israeli settlers who have established 33 settlements inhabited by around 18000 colonists.

Afiq was set up soon after the occupation of the Syrian Golan, close to the remains of the Syrian city of Fiq, whose residents had been expelled by the Israeli forces.

The occupation of the Golan amounts to both a war crime and a crime against humanity.  The continued economic exploitation of the area by the occupying army and colonisers continues to be a matter of international concern. For example. In 2008 the United Nations passed a resolution which ‘calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and in particular to desist from the establishment of settlements.’ (General Assembly Resolution 63/99).

The UN Security Council further calls upon “all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories.” (1979)

In advertising the ‘Kibbutz Afik Country Lodging’ (at http://www.venere.com/hotels/afik/hotel-kibbutz-afik/), which is situated on illegally occupied territory, you are propping up the settlement’s economy and helping to perpetuate the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan, contrary to international law.

Furthermore, in 2005, after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against Israel’s apartheid wall, a coalition of civil society groups called on the international community to boycott Israel until it complied with international law. These groups included representatives of the remaining residents of the occupied Syrian Golan the half a million refugees who are barred from returning to the area.

Please advise us what steps you plan to take in relation to this matter.

for more detail on the legality of Israeli settlements under international humanitarian law see Jonathan Moloney (Al Marsad), The Illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Syrian Golan under IHL, 2009 – http://www.golan-marsad.org/pdfs/The_Illegality_of_settlement_products_under_IHL.pdf

The call for boycott can be found at http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

Tourism, fruit picking and occupation ideology: Ein Zivan settlement in the Golan

Distributing occupation fruits

Beresheet in Ein Zivan

Ein Zivan kibbutz presents itself as the perfect retreat for Israeli families who want some time away from the heat and buzz of cities like Tel Aviv; it is green, quiet and benefits from the cooler, more comfortable climate. It was also one of the first settlements in the Israeli occupied Golan. Established in 1968, it has a population of around 50 Israeli families and -like most Golan settlements- makes its money through tourism and fruit sales. Cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, pomegranates, plums, apples and various herbs are all grown on the land occupied by Ein Zivan. The kibbutz runs a popular ‘pick your own fruit’ service for tourists and locals, but its fields are covered in flags and signs for the Israeli fruit export and marketing company Beresheet, who clearly run the distribution part of their business (for a previous Corporate Watch article about Beresheet see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/beresheet-exporting-the-fruits-of-occupation/ ).

The fields of Ein Zivan settlement

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Tourism in apartheid Israel – a ‘unique’ experience

Israel tourism advert from G2

A few weeks ago the Guardian’s G2 supplement ran a series of adverts for tourism in Israel. One of them,  shown above, describes a holiday in Israel as a ‘unique experience’. Damn right its a unique experience; interrogation by surly airport security, sharing buses with hordes of armed to the teeth Israeli adolescents and the chance to see the old city of Jerusalem policed by racist goons with a quota of Palestinian residents to harass. For the more adventurous tourist there’s the deserted and terrorised streets of the old city of Hebron, daubed with xenophobic graffiti, the apartheid wall, collective puishmment, targeted assassinations, house demolitions, torture and repression – the possibilities are endless.

None of that was mentioned in the G2 adverts. Readers are presented with a picture of a couple enjoying the Dead Sea Coast – much of which is in illegally occupied territory (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/kibbutz-kalia-part-1-a-holiday-in-israeli-apartheid/). Continue reading

Bnei Yehuda industrial zone

BE Machinery in Bnei Yahuda industrial zone

The Bnei Yehuda industrial area is a business park connected to the Israeli Moshav settlement Bnei Yehuda in the occupied Golan. As is the case with all Israeli industrial zones, businesses operating in Bnei Yehuda enjoy preferential tax rates and other benefits and, in doing businesson occupied territory, ensure the profitability and sustainability of the settlement itself (see our previous report http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3477 ). Whilst most of the businesses trading from Bnei Yehuda, such as the skin care company Avanova (http://www.avanova.co.il ) and Kosher caterers Buffalo, seem to cater for the settlers and wider Israeli market, Corporate Watch found one company with wider international connections. BE Machinery, one part of the larger Beth El Industries, specialise in machinery and processing plants for the food industry or, in their own words “complete automation and integrated IT solutions for the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.” Their mother company Beth El is a multi faceted business which, like so many other Israeli enterprises, make most of their business from the production of various military and “safety” equipment, including bomb shelters, filtration systems and vehicle components. According to The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute’s web-site, where Beth El’s profile is located in the Aerospace and Homeland Security section, they are a supplier to many NATO forces throughout Europe, the Middle East and the far East. The UK is listed as both an importing and exporting partner of Beth El.

As is common amongst companies which trade in the settlements, BE Machinery are registered inside Israel, at the address if Beth El Industries: Food Processing Department, 1 Avshalom Road,
P.O. Box 166, Zikhron Yaaqov 30951, Israel
info@be-machinery.com http://www.be-machinery.com/

phone: 0097246601717 Fax: 0097246601919 Continue reading

Empowering the occupiers: ELIN Seilbahntechnik

Cable cars going up Mount Hermon in the Golan

Mount Hermon, located in the Occupied Golan, is trying hard to present itself as a unique destination for Israelis and foreign tourists alike. Promoted as the only ski resort in Israel, the mountain slopes of the Hermon is busiest in the winter, when visitors can participate in various skiing activities. In the summer it is popular with hikers, and a new bike track was recently opened for adventurous cyclists. Although Israel’s occupation of the Golan is sometimes less visibly repressive than in the West Bank -most notably through the lack of checkpoints- it would be a mistake for any holiday makers to fool themselves into believing that a trip there does not make them complicit in the same brutal occupation. Despite its proximity to the Syrian Druze town Majdal Shams, any business on Mount Hermon is tightly controlled by the Israeli mountain top settlement Neve Ativ. Neve Ativ is build on the land of the Syrian village of Jubata ez-Zeit, completely razed by the Israeli’s after six day war.

Entrance to Mount Hermon ski resort

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Oppurtunities for apartheid tourism in Kibbutz Afik

The Syrian Golan was occupied by military force by Israel in 1967. Towns and villages and cities of the indigenous Syrian residents were razed and 131, 000 of the residents forcibly expelled. The area remains under military occupation and has been colonised by Israeli settlers who have established 33 settlements inhabited by around 18000 colonists.

Israel hopes to normalise the occupation of the heights, and make the settlements economically viable, by promoting the area as a major tourist destination.

Tourism in the occupied Syrian Golan is promoted through dozens of websites, none of which describe destination as ‘occupied Golan heights’ or as an Israeli settlement’. Here are a few of the hotels advertising rooms in Afik, a Southern Golan settlement established in 1967 close to the remains of Fiq, whose residents had been epelled by the Israeli army.

www.hotelscombined.com advertises, and offers web bookings, for a guesthouse in the Israeli settlement of Afik. Hotels combined is an online booking service advertising rooms all over the world, based in Sydney.Rooms in Afik are also advertised on easytobook.com -  a web booking company based in Switzerland  webtourist.net – also based in Switzerland, booking.com part of priceline.com – a company with offices all over the world including in london (see here). Maplandia also offers a booking service in Afik thriough information provided by booking.com Rooms in hotels in Afik can also be booked at venere.com – a company with offices in Rome, Paris and London.

Readymix in Katzerin Industrial Zone

Readymix in Katzerin

Readymix in Katzerin

Above are pictures of the Readymix (www.readymix.co.il) site in Katzerin Industrial zone. Katzerin is an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Readymix is a supplier of raw materials for the construction industry. The company also has plants in the West Bank in Mevo Khoron, Atarot industrial zone and Mishor Edomim industrial zone.

Readymix supplies construction materials for the Gilo ‘Security Wall’ and several military checkpoints in the West Bank as well as being a partner in Yatir quarry, where Palestinian land is exploited by the Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim.

Readymix is owned by Cemex (www.cemex.com), a Mexican owned multinational company engaged, primarily, in manufacturing cement and other construction products.  Cemex operates on a large scale in the UK – there site locations can be found here: http://www.cemexlocations.co.uk/

For more info on Readymix see www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=645

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'