Tag Archives: Tourism

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

Occupation tourism: hiding the ugly truth

Vered Yeriho is a settlement  Moshav (a type of cooperative agricultural community) situated on a hilltop just West of Jericho in the occupied Jordan Valley. Established in 1979, it is part of the Megilot Regional Council and has a small settler population of under 150 people. Like most other settlements in the Jordan Valley, it relies on agriculture for economic activity. When Corporate Watch visited in January, we found one Agrexco branded and one other packing house operated by the settlement, and we have previously reported on interviews with Palestinian settlement workers working the Vered Yeriho fields.

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Jericho Inn guest house located in the settlement Vered Yeriho in the occupied Jordan Valley.

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Psagot Winery: Winning awards while supporting the occupation

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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

‘Charity’ and Ethnic Cleansing: Christian Friends of Israeli Communities

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Sign for Christian Friends of Israeli Communities in the illegal Israeli settlement Ma’ale Efrayim.

Corporate Watch has previously reported on the role that Zionist charities play in the support of illegal settlements and a recent research trip provided more evidence of this practice. On 21st January 2013 Corporate Watch researchers photographed a sign stating that Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) had donated a playground in Ma’ale Efrayim, an illegal settlement with a population of around 1400 in the occupied Jordan Valley.

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Who profits from the E1 settlement expansion? A profile of Kfar Adumim

This article is part of a series of Corporate Watch articles exposing corporate complicity in settlement expansion in the  wider E1 area. They will be followed by an in-depth factsheet in the coming months.

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UN OCHA map showing the threat to the Bedouin communities living in the E1 and greater E1 area.

Kfar Adumim is an illegal Israeli settlement established in 1979 and has a population of over 2,500 settlers. It is located just outside the boundaries of the E1 project but is just as strategically important for Israel’s plans for the area. The planned route of the apartheid wall encircles Kfar Adumim to include it in what Israel refer to as the Greater Jerusalem area. As the E1 plan will facilitate this further land grab, with much the same results, we have decided to refer to this area between Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim as the ‘wider E1 area‘. Continue reading

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

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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

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.

Kibbutz Kalia Part 1 – A Holiday in Israeli Apartheid

Tourist a Kalia beach in the Israeli occupied West Bank

Kibbutz Kalia is an illegal Israeli settlement on the North coast of the Dead Sea. It offers bed and breakfast and a private beach and is attempting to tap in on the steady flow of tourists to the area.

Visitors to the area could be forgiven for not realising that Kibbutz Kalia lies in occupied territory. Its a straight drive along route 90 which bypasses Palestinian communities almost entirely. The North coast of the Dead Sea, although only a few kilometres from Jericho, is completely devoid of Palestinian areas and, only when you go inside Carmel Agrexco date packing houses will you see Palestinians. Visible workers on Kibbutz Kalia’s settlement farms are Thai migrants.

Thai migrant workers picking dates in fields belonging to Kibbutz Kalia

Kalia advertises rooms at its guesthouse on a number of websites including www.booking.com, www.venere.com, www.agoda.com, www.travelbyclick.net and www.webtourist.net. None of these websites make clear that Kalya is in occupied Palestine or that it is an illegal Israeli settlement. Continue reading