- Title: Gaza Pepsi factory shuts down, owners blame Israeli restrictions
- Date: 21st June 2021
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (JUNE 21, 2021) (REUTERS) GREEN EMPTY BOTTLES OF PEPSI STACKED IN FACTORY GREEN EMPTY BOTTLES STOPPED BELT AT PEPSI FACTORY CEO OF PEPSICO IN GAZA, HAMAM AL YAZEJI TALKING ON THE PHONE IN THE EMPTY FACTORY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CEO OF PEPSICO IN GAZA, HAMAM AL YAZEJI AT FACTORY SAYING: "The year that we were supposed to celebrate the 60th anniversary for 7UP, is the year that the factory stops working, and depriving us from this occasion and chance to celebrate the 60th anniversary of production." MIRINDA BOTTLE STICKER IN MACHINE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CEO OF PEPSICO IN GAZA, HAMAM AL YAZEJI AT FACTORY SAYING: "I believe this is not the first factory that will announce its halt, during the next few days, you will hear about many factories that have stopped production due to it's inability to get raw material through the Israeli crossings." INSTRUMENT INSIDE FACTORY PEPSI TRUCK OUTSIDE FACTORY PEPSI PAINTED ON TRUCK MEN WALKING OUT OF FACTORY WIDE SHOT OF INTERVIEW WITH ECONOMIC ANALYST, MOHAMMED ABU JIYAB (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ECONOMIC ANALYST, MOHAMMED ABU JIYAB, SAYING: "Depriving these factories from obtaining raw material and restricting the production process of these factories have made most of these factories stop production, thus the results were drastic, not only on the halt of these investments, but rather on the hundreds or thousands of employees of these factories that have stopped working." VIEW OF GAZA'S PORT VIEW OF GAZA'S BEACH
- Embargoed: 5th July 2021 13:59
- Keywords: Gaza Israel Palestinians Pepsi company war
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001EICIZIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Gaza's Pepsi bottling company was forced to halt operations this week due to Israeli import restrictions that were tightened during an 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants last month, the company's owners say.
With a truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas largely holding, Israel on Monday (June 21) allowed a limited resumption of exports from the enclave.
But it has kept in place tightened measures on raw material imports, including carbon dioxide gas and syrup that the bottling company's factory needs to produce Pepsi, 7UP and Mirinda soda, said Pepsi Gaza's Hamam al-Yazeji.
"I believe this is not the first factory that will announce its halt, during the next few days, you will hear about many factories that have stopped production due to it's inability to get raw material through the Israeli crossings," Yazeji said adding that raw materials have run out.
He said shutting down the plant has left 250 workers without a job.
Before the May fighting, he said, Pepsi Gaza was generally allowed to import needed materials.
Israeli officials did not immediately provide comment on the tightened restrictions.
Israel and neighbouring Egypt keep tight control over Gaza's borders, and say the restrictions are necessary to stop weapons reaching Hamas and prevent them from being produced locally.
Egypt and the United Nations stepped up mediation last week after incendiary balloons launched from Gaza drew retaliatory Israeli air strikes on Hamas sites, challenging the fragile ceasefire.
Shutdowns could also occur in other Gaza factories if Israeli restrictions are kept up, analysts say. Manufacturing makes up around 10 percent of Gaza's service sector-dominated economy, according to U.N. data.
Pepsi Gaza's factory has operated continuously since 1961, when the Gaza-based Yazeji Soft Drinks Company acquired rights to produce 7UP and other types of soda in the enclave.
Worth about $15 million, the owners say, the factory's products are distributed locally. A separate branch operates in the occupied West Bank, worth about $30 million, which serves the territory as well as East Jerusalem.
Company officials had made plans to celebrate 60 years of operations before the shutdown on Sunday.
Yazeji had tears in his eyes as he walked through his empty factory on Monday. The shutdown was "catastrophic", he said.
"This year should have been exceptional, celebrating 60 years since we began production.
"We are deprived of marking this anniversary."
(Production: Arafat Barbakh, Nuha Sharaf)
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