Information about NAOT
Naot is an Israeli footwear company that has an outlet store in Gush Etzion Industrial Zone, which is an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
General information on the illegal Israeli settlements and settlement products
Since the 1967 military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, Israel has built in these occupied territories civilian colonies, or settlements, and encouraged Israeli citizens and industries to move into them. Presently there are 135 Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and dozens of additional âoutpostsâ â settlements not yet officially recognized by the Israeli government. These house over 562,000 Jewish Israeli residents: 282,000 in the West Bank (excluding Jerusalem), 260,000 in neighborhoods built in Arab Jerusalem or annexed to Jerusalem, and 20,000 in the Golan Heights.
The Israeli civilian construction has been one of the methods in which occupied areas were effectively annexed, partially or in full, into Israel. The on-going construction includes housing developments as well as extensive infrastructure projects such as roads and water systems for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers, on lands confiscated from Palestinians or declared âstate landsâ in various ways. The Israeli colonizing efforts are illegal by international law that stipulates that an occupying power moving its citizens into an occupied area is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and any permanent changes made in the occupied land for such settlers is in violation of The Hague Regulations.
Israeli industrial zones within the occupied territories hold hundreds of companies, ranging from small businesses serving the local Israeli settlers to large factories which export their products worldwide. Several settlements, especially in the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, produce agricultural goods, such as fruits and flowers, and sell them in Israel and abroad.
Settlement production benefits from low rents, special tax incentives, lax enforcement of environmental and labor protection laws and other governmental supports. Palestinians employed in these industrial zones work under severe restrictions ofÂ movement or organization, and with hardly noÂ governmental protections,Â thisÂ many timesÂ results in exploitativeÂ employment practices andÂ labor rights violations.
The origin of exported settlement products is often intentionally obscured. Companies hold marketing addresses within Israel, or market their products under a label which mixes their products with products from within Israel.
Industrial Parks for Economic Control.
The establishment of industrial parks on the âseamâ between Israel and the Palestinian state is a key strategy in subduing popular Palestinian opposition to continued Israeli presence and control in the Occupied Territories. Seven such parks have already been built, with several other in various stages of planning and construction. Yet, while providing employment to the Palestinian workforce, these industrial parks threaten the economic viability of the Palestinian state, maintain a dependency relationship on Israel and present dangers to the environment. They allow Israeli firms continued access to cheap Palestinian labor while denying the workers access to Israel (a key component of the âseparationâ strategy). Although they pay higher salaries than Palestinians can earn in their own de-developed economy, the wages are still well below Israeli minimum wages and benefits. The proximity of Israeli industrial parks to weaker Palestinian industries nearby creates unfair competition and in the end saps Palestinian cities of their economic vitality. (They also provide crucial economic anchors to the settlements whose residents manage the parks and the factories, as the Shaâar Binyamin project illustrates.) Just as serious, the lax environmental standards and low costs means that these industrial parks attract Israelâs most polluting industries â chemical, aluminum, plastics, metalworks, batteries. Though established in Palestinian areas (or specially-created Industrial zones), these parks ensure Israelâs ability to continue dumping its industrial wastes into the West Bank.
(extract from âThe Matrix of Controlâ by Jeff Halper, ICAHD)