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Dr. Dalit Baum, Math, is head of project "Who Profits of the Occupation"

Dr. Dalit Baum, Math, Lecturer (UC Santa Cruz), Community School for Women, is head of project "Who Profits of the Occupation"

The Occupation Industry Research Project

Along with various political, religious and national interests, the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights is fueled more and more by corporate interests. Civilian companies and international corporations are involved in real estate deals, the development of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, the construction and operation of an ethnic separation system made of checkpoints, walls and roads, and the development and supply of equipment used in the control and repression of civilian population.

The Coalition of Women for Peace is a leading Israeli feminist peace organization, dedicated to ending the Occupation and reaching a just peace in Israel/ Palestine. During 2007 we launched a grassroots research effort under the title “Who Profits from the Occupation?” to collect information about companies that have direct involvement in the Israeli Occupation.

We currently focus our attention on three main areas of corporate involvement in the Occupation: The Settlement Industry, Economic Exploitation and Control of Population. At this stage of our project, we are not investigating the vast industry of military production and arms trade and our exploration of the exploitation of Palestinian labor and production is limited to publications by other organizations.

The information we publish on this website has been mostly collected by volunteers within the Coalition of Women for Peace. This is a community research effort, and the published database reflects on-going investigation and work in progress. The database, therefore, is incomplete, and the information published may be partial or outdated. However, we never publish any allegation without corroborating it ourselves, using official documents, the companies’ own publications, and site visits. The information we share on this website is not “secret”: even if some firms try to obscure or downplay their involvement in these controversial projects, at most times the information is readily available.

We hope that this information will stimulate a candid public debate about the costs and benefits of the Occupation to different parts of Israeli society, the international and local economic interests in the Occupation, and how these interests influence political decision-making.

We hope to serve as an information center for queries about corporate involvement in maintaining the occupation, and cooperate with activist groups working for corporate accountability and trade justice internationally, as well as groups working for social justice and labor rights within Israel.

 

The Settlement Industry

Since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, Israel has constructed civilian colonies, or settlements, in them and encouraged Israeli citizens and industries to move into them. Presently there are 135 Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and dozens of additional “outposts” – settlements not yet officially recognized by the Israeli Government. These house over 562,000 Jewish Israeli residents: 282,000 in the West Bank (without Jerusalem), 260,000 in neighborhoods built in Arab Jerusalem or annexed to Jerusalem, and 20,000 in the Golan Heights.

The Israeli civilian construction includes housing projects as well as extensive infrastructure such as roads and water systems for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers, on lands confiscated from Palestinians or declared “state lands” in various ways. This has resulted in the effective partial or full annexation of the Occupied Territories into the Israeli state. An occupying power moving its citizens into the occupied area is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and making permanent changes in the occupied land for these settlers is in violation of the Hague Regulations.

In this section of the database, we distinguish between three different forms of corporate involvement in the settlement industry: The Israeli companies which are located in the settlements and thus use the captive resources of Palestinian land and labor in their production; The companies involved in sustaining the settlements and connecting them to Israel; The companies involved in real estate deals and the construction of Israeli infrastructure and settlements on occupied lands.

Settlements' Products

Israeli industrial zones within the Occupied Territories hold hundreds of businesses and factories, ranging from small businesses serving the local Israeli settlers to large factories which export their products worldwide. Several settlements, especially in the Jordan Valley, produce agricultural goods, such as fruits and flowers, and sell them in Israel and internationally.
Settlement production usually enjoys tax incentives, low rent and other governmental supports. Many times, the restrictions on Palestinian movement and the lack of protection for Palestinians in the Israeli controlled areas result in gross violations of Palestinian labor rights.
The origin of exported settlement products is often intentionally obscured. Companies hold marketing addresses within Israel, or market their products under a label which included products from within Israel.

Israeli Construction on Occupied Land

The jurisdiction area of the settlements covers approximately 40% of the West Bank while the built-up area covers only 3%. Around the Israeli housing projects in the West Bank, the construction of an Israeli road system supports the creation of a separate Jewish space on top of a fragmented Palestinian space. The roads and the settlements thus become part of the separation system, which includes fences, walls, gates and checkpoints.
The ever-on-going construction of all these involves Israeli and international firms � in real estate transactions, planning and construction, infrastructure and engineering, security guards and maintenance.

Services to the Settlements

This section of the database includes companies that provide everyday services to the settlements, with an emphasis on services that are provided unequally � to the Jewish settlements and not to their surrounding Palestinian neighbors, services that help connect the settlements to Israel and normalize their status, or security services.

 

Economic Exploitation

Since the occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel has imposed a customs union on the Palestinians, coupled with severe restrictions on the development of businesses that can compete with Israeli industries.

Israeli companies enjoy a high concentration of capital, freedom of movement and favorable legal conditions, creating ample opportunity to exploit the Palestinian labor force, natural resources and a captive consumer market. Severe restrictions on movement of Palestinian labor and products inside the Occupied Territories and to neighboring areas have further increased the dependency of the Palestinian economy on Israeli companies as employers and retailers.

The Economic Exploitation section of the database lists companies that gain direct or indirect advantages from either the actions of the Israeli authorities or the special conditions of the Occupation and use them to exploit the Palestinian economy.

Palestinian Captive Market

Companies providing services or goods to Palestinians at exorbitant costs, exploiting the restrictions on movement imposed on the Palestinians who cannot purchase cheaper versions of these goods and services.
Companies using their ties to the Israeli authorities to gain advantages in business over Palestinian companies.
Companies that collect debts owed to them by the Palestinian Authority or local municipalities through the Israeli government (using illegally-retained Palestinian import and sales taxes).

Exploitation of Palestinian Labor

Israeli companies employing Palestinian workers for low wages or with inadequate social benefits because Palestinians are hindered from seeking alternative means of employment, organizing or suing for their rights in Israeli courts.

Exploitation of Palestinian Production

Companies purchasing Palestinian products for low prices because sellers are restricted to choosing companies that can cross Israeli checkpoints.

Control of Population
The three and a half million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have lived under a severe military regime since 1967, devoid of basic civil liberties and subject to arbitrary repressive violence by the Israeli security forces.
In the West Bank, over two million Palestinians are divided into dozens of fragmented enclaves; eleven of them are the major, crowded population centers that make up Area A. The enclaves are separated and surrounded by a system of roadblocks, fences, walls and barriers, terminals, checkpoints, as well as Israeli settlements and Israeli-only roads. Palestinian movement between roadblocks and separate enclaves is controlled by an elaborate system of permits. Permits are allocated by the Israeli authorities according to secret security and economic considerations. Hundreds of thousands are blacklisted, or “GSS- Prohibited” and cannot pass any checkpoints – including for travel inside their own enclave, to the next town or to nearby fields.

Vast areas of the West Bank are closed off to Palestinian movement altogether or require extremely rare permits: the Israeli-only roads, the Israeli settlements’ jurisdiction areas, the “seamline expanse” between the Apartheid Wall and the Green Line, the Jordan Valley, areas annexed to Jerusalem and Jerusalem itself. The arbitrary movement restrictions severely limit Palestinians’ access to health care, education and employment, and destroy the economic and geographic viability of Palestinian independence.

In the Gaza Strip, a million and half people live in extremely crowded conditions, completely surrounded by fences and walls and constantly controlled by Israeli military forces from air, land and sea. All movement of people, goods and services in or out is almost completely stopped; on-going military attacks cause mounting destruction and casualties; the trade, utilities and finance embargo on the Hamas regime has added to the resulting economic and humanitarian collapse.

In the Occupied Territories, Israeli military presence is not restricted to any one area, and Palestinian towns and homes are raided by the Israeli military looking to intimidate, arrest or assassinate Palestinian activists and militants. Military regulations do not permit freedom of speech, organizing or protest by Palestinian civilian residents, and Israeli military courts sentence Palestinian offenders with long prison terms. All resistance is met with military violence, including the routine and officially-sanctioned use of live fire on non-violent demonstrators. Collective punishment in the form of house demolitions, curfews, closures and mass arrests are common. Presently, about 10,000 Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories are held in Israeli military and civilian prisons as “security prisoners”. Hundreds are held under “administrative detention”, i.e., without a charge or trial.

The Control of Population section of the database is divided into three sub-sections:
Wall and Checkpoints; Private Security in the Occupation; Specialized Equipment and Services.
The Wall and Checkpoints

This section of the database includes all companies involved in the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the intricate mechanism of physical separation and restrictions of movement. This includes businesses ranging from contractors that build the ditches, civil engineering firms that supply ready-made watch towers or raise razor wire fences to suppliers of biometric identification systems and high-end surveillance technologies.

Private Security in the Occupation

One of the fastest growing industries in Israel is that of private security. Private firms have taken over many former military responsibilities for managing the occupation. Private security is used to guard settlements and construction projects in the West Bank; private firms are also in charge of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of some checkpoints (�terminals�) and areas of the Wall.

Specialized Equipment and Services

At this stage of our project, we have decided not to investigate the arms trade and supply of weapons to the Israeli army. We will focus our attention instead on civilian firms that supply the Israeli army with equipment and services specific to the needs of the military occupation. This will include, for example, the specially armored D9 bulldozers supplied by Caterpillar, specifically designed simulators and software, specialized anti-demonstration equipment and services to soldiers stationed in the Occupied Territories.

Spotlight Company
Abadi Bakery (Abadi Yosef and Simha "Mizrahiot" Cookies)
General Info 158 Totzeret St., Atarot I.Z., P.O.B. 47038 Jerusalem
Tel: 972-2-5855228
website: www.abadibakery.com
Industry:Manufacture of food products and beveragesTraded in:PrivateUpdated:26-05-2008
עבאדי יוסף ושמחה (עוגיות מזרחיות)

Abadi is the manufactor of salted bagel cookies. The company offices and factory are located in the industrial zone of the Atarot settlement, which is in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Involved in:

Settlement IndustrySettlements' Products

The company is privately owned by the Abadi family.

Israeli distributer: Wisotsky Tea; International distributers: King David Import (USA), Galil Importing (USA), Nuts & More (USA), Shneiders (France), Botany International Foods Pty (Australia)

You can help us by correcting errors, updating information, or suggesting other companies to investigate.

 

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