Palestinian company Hamoda sells a wide range of food products – all now banned from being brought into Israel.
By Palestine Monitor
March 15, 2016
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, explained that Israel has committed an offence against Palestinian products by preventing dairy and meat from entering, not only to ’48 lands, but also Occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities recently banned products from Palestinian food production companies from entering East Jerusalem and Israel through the Beitunia commercial crossing.
Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks from five different Palestinian companies. A big percentage of the companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in East Jerusalem and Israel.
Barghouti said that Israel has launched an official boycott campaign against Palestinian products, and the response to this new violation of agreements requires the Palestinian Authority to impose an immediate ban on the entry of all Israeli products in the Palestinian market.
Barghouti also claimed that Israeli authorities are mistaken in thinking that the measure can break the boycott and divestment movement and the sanctions against Israel.
Barghouti called on some countries that gave into Israeli pressure to take action against the anti-occupation to review their decisions and take punitive action against Israel, which has been occupying the Palestinians territories for over fifty years and implemented racial discrimination. He added that Israel is preventing the import of many Palestinian products to Israeli and international markets.
Barghouti also confirmed that Israel’s actions must be seen as an incentive for the expansion and escalation of the boycott movement against such policies and their products.
By Ma’an news
March 14, 2016
RAMALLAH — Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.
The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel.
An Israeli army spokesman did not immediately respond for request for information about the protest.
Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.
The director of marketing for the Hamoda company, Fadi Abu Hilweh, told Ma’an on Saturday evening that Israeli troops at the crossing have been turning back trucks of the five companies since Wednesday.
Hamoda head Ameer Haddad told Ma’an that Hamoda — along with the companies al-Juneidi Dairy and Food products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries — all parked their trucks near the prison to protest the ban and “the horrible consequences of this decision.”
Haddad added that the companies export their products to Jerusalem under agreements with Israel and that there was no grounds for the ban.
He said the companies would continue protesting until Israeli authorities cancelled the decision.
Abu Hilweh said the companies were not officially notified of any decisions to ban their products in Israel and were “surprised” when Israeli soldiers at Beitunia commercial crossing denied their products entry to Israel on Wednesday.
He added that about 50 percent of the five companies’ production goes to Palestinian consumers in occupied East Jerusalem and Palestinian communities in Israel.
If this ban continues, he said, the companies could lose some 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) a year.
Hamoda has already notified its milk providers to halt supplies until the ban is resolved. Abu Hilweh said the five companies would have to discharge large numbers of workers if the ban continued.
He added that he was surprised when Israeli authorities informed the companies that the decision to ban products was a “political” decision and “the Palestinian Authority was notified of the decision six months ago.”
An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy, who requested anonymity, told Ma’an that the ministry was not notified of any such decision.
“The ministry is looking into the case, which is a flagrant breach of Paris Protocols,” the official said, referring to an agreement signed in 1995 between the PLO and Israel, that set procedures and regulations governing economic relations between the occupied West Bank and Israel.
Palestinian lawmaker and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said the Palestinian Authority should respond to the Israeli decision by banning Israeli products from entering the Palestinian market.
According to the protocols, bilateral trade agreements between Israel and other parties are considered valid in the occupied West Bank, however Israel prevents the import of many Palestinian products to the Israeli market.
A poll by the the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research conducted in June 2015 reported that the overwhelming majority of those interviewed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 86 percent — said they supported the campaign to boycott Israeli products.
The wasteland outside Ofer prison – a popular place for protest
Israeli authorities prevent five major Palestinian foodstuff companies from bringing their goods to Jerusalem, firms charge
By Dov Lieber, Times of Israel
March 13, 2016
Israel is preventing West Bank producers from transporting their goods into East Jerusalem, manufacturers said Sunday, in what appears to be the first move of its kind in over five years.
The staff of five Palestinian companies — whose goods have been prevented from entering Jerusalem — protested Sunday near Israel’s Ofer Prison outside Ramallah.
Israeli authorities reportedly told the pertinent firms last Wednesday that their products would not be allowed to pass through the commercial Beitunia Crossing, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported.
The five companies are Hamoda, al-Juneidi Dairy and Food Products, al-Rayyan Dairies, Salwa Foods, and Siniora Food Industries.
The move appeared to be the first time since 2010 that Israel has prohibited West Bank goods from entering East Jerusalem, which it considers sovereign Israeli territory. In that year, Israeli authorities attempted a similar prohibition of West Bank food products, saying they did not meet Israeli standards.
The ban was rescinded shortly afterwards, following international pressure, including from the Mideast Quartet and the US administration.
Fadi Abu Hilweh, the director of marketing for Hamoda, told Ma’an the new ban could result in the loss of an estimated 1.2 billion shekels ($309.5 million) per year for the companies. Consumers in East Jerusalem — in addition to Arab Israelis — account for more than 50 percent of the five companies’ sales, he said.
Another Hamoda official claimed that Israel imposed the ban to protect its domestic firms from outside competition, the al-Watan news outlet reported.
Amjad Muhtaseb, a marketing employee at al-Juneidi, told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Israeli authorities cited a lack of Hebrew labels on the companies’ products as the reason for banning their entrance into Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities did not respond to a Times of Israel request to comment on the decision.
An official in the Palestinian Ministry of Economy told Ma’an that his ministry was never informed of the Israeli decision.
The official called the decision a “flagrant breach of the Paris Protocol,” referring to the 1994 agreement that set the framework for economic relations between Israel and the PLO.
Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, said in a statement on his Facebook page that Israel’s decision amounted to a “massacre of national Palestinian products” and was the beginning of “an official Israeli boycott against Palestinian products.”
Barghouti called on the Palestinian Authority to respond by announcing an immediate ban on all Israeli products into the West Bank and a complete boycott.
In February 2015, the PA called for a boycott of major Israeli food companies in response to Israel withholding tax revenue. Israeli foods, however, have continued to be sold in supermarkets across the West Bank.