Israel’s Fox clothing store chain plans to open a branch in Ramallah, the heart of the Palestinian Authority, may put a feather in the cap of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s economic hopes for the PA but also may unwittingly kill Kerry’s “peace process” efforts.
It also might bring Arabs and Jews closer to peace.
As reported on Monday, Palestinian Authority activists are outraged over the idea of Fox moving into Ramallah because it has committed the ultimate sin of operating stores in Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria.
Fox spokesperson Merav Stav said that the Ramallah store will be run by a PA franchise owner, but that does not calm those who want a boycott of any Israeli firm that deals with Jews in Judea and Samaria.
“The public rejects the opening of the Zionist clothing chain in Ramallah,” wrote one activist on an Internet site.
The news of Fox’s expansion into Ramallah has reached around the world, from Europe to China as well as the United States.
Fox runs 135 stores in Israel and another 245 outside the country, and CEO Harel Wizel plans another 60 branches in two years.
Large billboards already are posted in Ramallah to advertise the new store to be opened later this year.
Fox’s plans are an untended slap in the face of the European Union, which last week declared a boycott of any firm that has operations in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and areas of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan before 1967.
Now we will see if the EU is prepared to put an “x” on Fox’s stores in Europe.
The world already has learned that boycotting all of Israel does not work, unless the idealists want to give up their computers with made-in-Israel Intel chips, generic drugs and the Copaxone drug against Muscular Sclerosis made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Waze, and all sorts of high-tech gadgets.
But there is a bigger problem for Arabs in the Palestinian Authority who promote the boycott of “anyone who deals with “settlers,” except, perhaps, terrorists who do their best to end the need for a boycott by trying to put an end to Jews living there.
There are businesses besides Fox that serve Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, even if not in Arab-dominated cities.
Rami Levi’s supermarkets chains employ hundreds of Arabs and serves thousands of them in his stores in Judea and Samaria as well as in areas of Jerusalem claimed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
And Israel’s Burger Ranch franchise owner Eli Orgad already has announced he will open a branch in Ariel, in central Samaria, next year, where nearby Arabs undoubtedly will be shopping.
The mall is being developed by none other than Rami Levy.
Jobs and comfortable shipping are not worth the misery of having to enjoy a decent life that also helps the profits of Israelis “supporting the occupation.” In the blind eyes of hard-core activists.
It “inconceivable that while the Europeans have decided to boycott settler products, Palestinians are helping an Israeli company do business in Ramallah,” Palestinian Authority activist Zeid al-Shuaibi told the Jerusalem Post this week.
Without the Jews, either by war or through Kerry’s peace process, the PA would be left without the economic engine that has kept the Palestinian Authority alive.
If the boycotters want to be honest, they should be avoiding Osem cookies, Elite chocolates and coffee, Tnuva milk products and Strauss ice cream, because all of those products are sold in stores operated by those pesky “settlers.”
With Fox’s entry into Ramallah, PA activists, the International Solidarity Movement’s paid protesters living in Judea and Samaria, and European Union officials are welcome to stand fast and back the boycott, do without Fox clothes and stick to a diet of Arab-made pita.
Fox, Rami Levi and Orgad are making mincemeat out of the idea of the PA ideology of an Arab apartheid state.
When Kerry eventually realizes that the Arab leaders are not interested in any peace process, the Palestinian Authority likely will return to where it was before the days of the Intifada in the late 1980s, when Jews shopped freely in Gaza and hired Arabs, when Jews toured and shopped in Arab villages in Judea and Samaria, and when peace never was closer.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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