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McDonald's Israel refuses to open branch in West Bank settlement


20:31, June 26, 2013

JERUSALEM, June 26 (Xinhua) -- McDonald's Israel has refused an offer to open a branch in a new mall being built in the settlement city of Ariel in the occupied West Bank, Israel's Calcalist economic daily reported on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for McDonald's Israel confirmed to Xinhua that they have no intention to open a branch in Ariel, adding that rejecting operation in settlements "has always been the policy of Dr. Omri Padan," the owner of the McDonald's franchise in Israel.

Tzahi Nahmias, the realtor who is marketing the mall's commercial space, told Calcalist that other international companies "expressed concerns that operation in the mall will negatively affect their business."

Rami Levy, an Israeli supermarket mogul and an entrepreneur of the Ariel mall, said "I do not accept that companies mix politics with business."

"The Ariel mall will serve both Jews and Arabs in the area," said Levy, "This boycott is pointless and hurts the same Arab population that these people are allegedly trying to protect."

Amid the mounting calls to boycott settlement products, several multinationals relocated their businesses into the Green Line (the internationally agreed Israeli border).

In 2012, Unilever relocate its Beigel-Beigel pretzels factory from the settlement industrial zone of Barkan to Tzfat in northern Israel, and Mul-T-Lock, owned by the Swedish giant Assa Abloy, moved its factory to Yavne, a city in central Israel.

Ariel, a controversial city of 18,000 people, is located in the West Bank. Many Israelis hold it a part of their country that should remain under its sovereignty in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, while others deem it an illegal settlement by all accounts.

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