After shutting down its factory in Mishor Adumim, SodaStream recently returned to the West Bank due to the Sukkot holiday closure on the West Bank, which prevents the company’s Palestinian workers from reaching the factory in southern Israel. The temporary production line in the Jordan Valley will cease to operate when the closure is lifted.
Watch: SodaStream employees working on the temporary production line
The closure on the West Bank during the Sukkot holiday has prompted SodaStream, or at least part of the company, to return to operating beyond the Green Line. Channel 2 News recently learned that the company has opened a temporary production line for its Palestinian workers, who cannot leave the West Bank in order to reach the Rahat factory because the area has been sealed off by the IDF.
SodaStream employs about 80 Palestinian workers and managers. Up until about three years ago, the Israeli factory was located in the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the West Bank, which prompted fierce condemnation from the BDS Movement. In response to the international pressure, the factory was moved to the Negev as part of the plan to expand the company’s operations. Many of the Palestinian workers lost their job because of the factory’s relocation.
SodaStream employees in the West Bank during the closure Photo Credit: PR/Channel 2 News
After the deadly terror attack in Har Adar about two weeks ago and ahead of the Sukkot holiday, Israel sealed off the West Bank. The company understood that dozens of its workers would not be able to reach the factory before the end of Sukkot and began to search for a solution. After reviewing several options, it was decided to set up a temporary production line in Ma’ale Efrayim in the Jordan Valley.
The production line, which will cease to operate when the closure is lifted, allows the Palestinian workers to maintain their normal routines despite the closure. When the border crossings are reopened, the workers will return to the factory in Rahat.