Psagot boutique and visitors’ centre in the illegal settlement of Psagot – Photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers – February 2013
The Psagot winery visitors’ centre is located in the illegal settlement of Psagot, positioned just outside Ramallah and Al Bireh in the West Bank. Established in 1981, the settlement hosts the headquarters of the Binyamin Regional Council and has a population of over 1600 people. Originally, the winery itself was also based there, but in 2008 it moved a few minutes down the road to the East Jerusalem settlement, Pisgat Ze’ev. Its first vineyards were planted on stolen land in 1998 and the winery has been operational since 2003. It produces around 100,000 bottles of wine per year, most -but not all- of which is sold in Israel. The winery’s vineyards are located within the West Bank.
The Israeli settlement wine export industry might not yet be huge, but settlement wineries are growing and have a big impact on Palestinians. The planting of vineyards facilitates settlement expansion and is an easy way to take over Palestinian land. Just like with other settlement businesses there is also state support for individuals willing to operate from the West Bank. For a full report of all the facts around Israel’s settlement wine industry, read the excellent report by Who Profits? Forbidden Fruit: The Israeli Wine Industry and the Occupation. Continue reading
As we have previously reported Corporate Watch was recently denied a requested visit to the SodaStream factory in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim.
Despite the company’s insistence that anyone who visits the premises will find it to be a force for good in the area, it was not willing to let critics challenge this assertion for themselves. In a move that seems to go against its own self proclaimed eco-friendliness SodaStream recently paid the expenses of local Brighton journalist John Keenan when he flew over from the UK to see the factory, yet they would not let researchers already in the West Bank in. Brighton is the location of EcoStream, SodaStream’s first own brand shop in the UK, and it has been met by weekly boycott demonstrations since its opening in the middle of 2012. As part of its PR strategy, SodaStream has also invited the Brighton MP Mike Weatherley to the factory. Weatherley had already previously issued strong worded statements against the protests and in support of SodaStream.
Entrance to the SodaStream factory in the illegal settlement Mishor Adumim.
Posted in Corporate Watch Research Blogs
Tagged Abu al Helweh, Abu al Mihtawish, Abu Dis, Abu Fellah, Anti Corporate Resistance, Companies Working on settlements, East Jerusalem, Ecostream, Histradrut, Hizma, Israeli Companies, Jabba, Kfar Adumim, Khan al Ahmar, Kurshan, Ma'ale Adumim, Mishor Adumim, Ramallah, Settlement Industrial Zones, Sodastream, Workers
During a recent visit to the Jordan Valley, Corporate Watch found evidence of a company operating from there that we previously haven’t come across. Cherriessa, trading under the slogan ‘From Farm to Market’ is a family owned business which claims to sort, package and export vegetables from Israel to Europe. According to Cherriessa Ltd’s web-site, the company was founded in 2009 to ‘address the developing and growth of ‘The Saada Family Modern Farm’. The Saada Farm was founded in 1989 and exported their produce through Carmel Agrexco.
Cherriessa labels aimed for the European market obtained in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Jimmy Russo, the Company Chairman of EDOM, has told Corporate Watch that he plans to “resign” from his chairmanship and “actively seek to sell” his 20% shareholding in the Israeli company. His announcement was in reply to questions about new evidence found by Corporate Watch that EDOM UK, the Israeli company (despite the misleading name), is packaging cherry tomatoes in the Israeli settlement of Beit Ha’arava in the occupied Jordan Valley.
EDOM branded products are sold in Sainsburys stores in the UK
EDOM UK cherry tomatoes acquired from a packing house in the illegal settlement of Beit Ha’arava – Photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers February 2013
Packing house being used to package EDOM UK cherry tomatoes – the signs on the outside say Agrexco and Hadiklaim – photo taken by Corporate Watch 4th January 2013
Back in 2010 Corporate Watch urged Russo to divest his shares. We wrote:
“To continue to maintain shares in EDOM is to ignore the suffering of those who have lived their entire lives under Israeli apartheid and occupation. The only way to remain ethical in this context is to divest.”
Russo, who is also the director of British company Valley Grown Salads (VGS), made the following “commitments” on 7th February 2013:
“1. I will confirm that I will resign as [EDOM] company chairman with immediate effect as I do not want my company, VGS receiving this constant harassment every year and being involved in political situations which are totally out of my control.
2. I will actively seek to sell my 20% stake holding in the company as the aggravation for no reward is not worth continuing with.”
Russo confirms that VGS will not source goods from the West Bank in the future but says that the company will continue sourcing from EDOM and other companies in Israel.
Russo also pledged to answer questions put to VGS by Corporate Watch and other media outlets.
Corporate Watch has contacted EDOM but has not received a reply. Continue reading
Posted in Agriculture, Corporate Watch Research Blogs
Tagged Agrexco, Agriculture, Beit Ha'arava, British companies with relationships with Israeli companies, Chosen Agricultural Produce, divestment, EDOM, Edom UK, Glinwell, Hadiklaim, Israeli Companies, Jimmy Russo, Jordan Valley, Magnolia Holdings, Mislabelling, Russia, Tesco, Tomatoes, UK
SodaStream’s premises in Airport City – Tel Aviv
SodaStream’s factory in the illegal settlement industrial zone of Mishor Adumim
In August 2012 the Israeli carbonated beverage manufacturer SodaStream opened their first own brand shop in the UK. EcoStream, which is owned by SodaStream, is located in Brighton and promotes itself as an eco friendly alternative to bottled drinks. However, SodaStream is far from an ethical company. With their main manufacturing plant being located in the illegal settlement industrial zone Mishor Adumim the company is profiting from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
SodaStream has been on the receiving end of an international boycott campaign for a number of years and Palestine solidarity groups have been demonstrating outside the EcoStream shop on a weekly basis since September 2012. These demonstrations have been opposed by Zionist counter demonstrators. SodaStream has always been defensive about its business on occupied territory, claiming it benefits the Palestinians, something which has been disputed at length by activists. Continue reading
- Grape fields in the illegal Israeli settlement Beqa’ot in the occupied Jordan Valley
Two and a half years ago Corporate Watch visited the illegal Israeli settlement Beqa’ot
in the Jordan Valley
, where we found packing houses belonging to the agricultural exporter Mehadrin Tnuport Export Company (MTEX). The produce being prepared for export was mislabeled as ‘produce of Israel’ despite being from the occupied West Bank. As we exposed at the time, Mehadrin produce is sold through Tesco stores in the UK
. Last week we made another visit to the settlement to find out whether recent developments in UK and Israel has had an effect on the conduct of the company.
Posted in Agriculture, Corporate Watch Research Blogs
Tagged Adafresh, Agrexco, Agriculture, Arava, Be'erot Yitzhaq, Beqa'ot, Companies Working on settlements, Farming Injustice, Israeli Companies, Jordan Valley, Mehadrin, Mislabelling, Supermarkets/Retail, Tesco, The Co Op
Sodastream, a carbonated beverage manufacturer is based in the Mishor Adumim settlement industrial zone. Mishor Adumim is an industrial are attached to the residential settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, East of Jerusalem in the Israeli occupied West Bank. Continue reading
Impertec Supergum in Maale Efraim
Impertec/Supergum Industries - One of the companies in Ma’ale Efraim is Impertec ‘Supergum’.
Impertec is part of the ‘Supergum Group’. Impertec and Supergum are sister companies with the same owners. Impertec manufactures gas masks, riot gear and rubber extrusions. Supergum manufacture rubber, plastic and sealing products. Both product ranges have military applications Continue reading