Despite its high-profile (and controversial) ScarJo alliance, SodaStream is finally giving in. Come 2015, the at-home soda machine brand will finally move its factory from Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank to Israel’s Negev region. A move that the company claims is “purely commercial”. Sure.
The location change comes after months of pressure from Palestinians and human rights activists, who claimed that the company’s location was both hindering the peace process and allowed them to profit off an occupied people — something explicitly illegal under international law.
But according to the AP, SodaStream insist that that the new location, which will be receiving a $US20 million grant from the Israeli government, “is not connected to pressure from Palestinian activists who had boycotted the company because of its location.” A claim that’s obviously a little suspect.
Still, SodaStream is promising to work with the Israeli government to supply its Palestinian employees with working permits, which would mean they get to keep their jobs while also gaining some hope for economic autonomy. A baby step, sure — but at least it’s in the right direction.