Oct 13, 2010

#BDS: BDS Success: Unilever to Move Factory out of West Bank

Unilever Israel Foods is planning move its Beigel & Beigel company plant from the Barkan industrial zone, located in the occupied West Bank, to a location inside Israel, reports the Hebrew-language daily Maariv

This moves follows intense Palestinian and international pressure on the parent company, Unilever International, to move its operations out of the settlement industrial zone or to divest from the factory, which collects profits due to the advantages given to Israeli businesses in the West Bank, including extensive subsidies by the Israeli government.

Unilever International, the UK and Dutch-owned multinational company, has been trying to divest from Beigel & Beigel since 2008, following the refusal of British stores to sell products manufactured in Israeli settlements. However, given the location of the factory in the illegal Ariel settlement and the growing international calls for accountability from the settlements industries, the company was unable to sell its shares.

"Following the divestment in recent years of a number of non-core businesses ... the decision has been reached to divest of its interests in the bakery business and will therefore seek to find a buyer for Unilever's share in the Beigel & Beigel partnership," the company said in a statement at the time.

United Civilians for Peace, a Dutch organization, published a report in 2006 entitled Dutch economic links to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and/or Syrian territories, and then began “a constructive dialogue with Unilever Netherlands on the ethical implications of the company's investment in the settlement,” according to the UCP website.

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