The SodaStream Factory Does Not Benefit Palestinians

Supporters of Israeli settlements often claim that the SodaStream factory benefits Palestinians in the West Bank by providing employment. Although SodaStream employs about 500 Palestinians in the West Bank, it helps sustain an occupation that denies the basic rights, including economic rights, of 2.6 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and is complicit in crimes committed against millions of others inside Israeli borders, in Gaza, and in the diaspora.

While benefitting from occupation, SodaStream also directly supports it. The company pays taxes to Israel, not to the Palestinian Authority. SodaStream and other companies located in settlements directly support Israel's illegal settlement enterprise by paying taxes to local municipal settler governments, which are used exclusively for the growth and development of those settlements.

SodaStream regularly engages in unfair labor practices. SodaStream’s Mishor Adumim factory has been the subject of numerous complaints by Palestinian workers over the years, regarding low wages, discrimination, and poor working conditions. In 2008, Palestinian workers staged a protest at the factory after the contractor that hired them refused to improve working conditions or raise their pay, which was less than half the legal minimum wage at the time. Seventeen workers were fired, then rehired following unflattering press coverage and pressure from non-governmental organizations. In July 2014, 60 Palestinians were fired from the SodaStream plant in Ma’aleh Adumim by verbal notice only and were not given pre-dismissal hearings, as required by law. The workers were fired after complaining, with the support of their trade union WAC-MAAN, of insufficient food rations, especially for the night shifts during the Ramadan fast.

Palestinians who work for SodaStream and other companies that operate in settlement industrial parks face severe restrictions on their movements and their ability to organize to protect workers’ rights. They have to be approved and obtain special permission from Israel's General Security Service (Shabak). As noted by Israeli NGO Who Profits?, “Their dependence on these permits limits the workers’ employment choices and makes organizing almost impossible.” Palestinians working in settlements accept these conditions because they may not otherwise have jobs, due to the over 20% unemployment rate in the West Bank fostered by Israel’s occupation. The settlements and the system they are part of reinforce the economic realities that often leave Palestinians with no choice but to work within the system that oppresses them.

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