When SodaStream moved out of the West Bank in October 2015 under pressure from BDS, 500 Palestinian employees lost their jobs. Another 74 were able to continue working at the new factory close to the southern town of Rahat, but only on temporary work permits. On Monday, those permits expired and SodaStream was forced to let its last Palestinian employees go.
Thanks to the BDS movement’s actions, close to 600 Palestinians have now lost their jobs.
BDS activists have clearly demonstrated beyond all doubt that their only goal is to harm Israel, and they don’t care one iota if that causes Palestinians to suffer. Mahmoud Nawajaa, the BDS coordinator in Ramallah, called the loss of the Palestinian jobs at SodaStream
BDS caused irrevocable damage by costing 600 Palestinians their livelihoods, but the movement got what it wanted. BDS supporters claim they are against “the occupation,” and SodaStream has moved out of the West Bank. What more could there possibly be left for them to do now?
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The boycott movement will still be targeting SodaStream as leaders claim that operating from the Negev “amounts to participation in Israel’s plans to forcibly displace at least 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins into townships,” and according to BDS leader Omar Barghouti, “colluding in the ethnic cleansing of Bedouin Palestinian citizens.” Except the Bedouins are not Palestinians, and BDS is simply hijacking their identity to fit their narrative portraying Israel as an occupier of Palestinian land.
This is in reference to the contentious Prawer-Begin plan which was dropped while the government sought to formulate a new version, but aimed to resolve the issues of illegal Bedouin settlements and to more fully integrate them into Israeli society.
The SodaStream factory was built in a new industrial zone in the Negev administered by the Bedouin city of Rahat, the Jewish town of Lahavim and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council. Around 40 factories will be based in this industrial zone when it is fully developed, providing employment for hundreds of workers, including many Bedouins from nearby towns. A college and hospital are also being built. The Negev is uncontested land under Israeli sovereignty, but to BDS it is another area that can be used in the attempt to delegitimize Israel altogether.
Just like the 600 Palestinians who lost their jobs, the plight of the Bedouins and the reality of the situation are irrelevant to BDS. The movement will take any opportunity to demonize Israel, even if it is to the detriment of the people it claims to care about.