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Israel wine industry ‘remains deeply complicit’ in illegal settlements

A Palestinian farmer collects grapes during harvest season at a vineyard in Gaza city on 24 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Harvest season at a vineyard on 24 July, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Israel’s wine industry “remains deeply complicit in the occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land”, according to independent research centre Who Profits, with “dozens of wineries” based in and around Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan.

Moreover, the report added, “many wineries located within the Green Line, including the largest commercial wineries in the Israeli market, use grapes originating from occupied land in their wines”.

In the update published last month, Who Profits – which is “dedicated to exposing the role of the private sector in the Israeli occupation economy” – highlighted “recent developments in the Israeli wine sector, including the expansion of wine tourism and foreign export markets”.

The update follows on from a 2011 in-depth study titled “Forbidden Fruit: The Israeli Wine Industry and the Occupation”, a report which “identified several ways in which Israeli wineries are complicit in, and profit from, the Israeli occupation”.

The study showed how Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory “use the planting of vineyards as a means of seizing public and private Palestinian land”.

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In addition, “settlement wineries and growers also benefit from government support in the forms of grants, subsidies and benefits”.

The 2011 report also exposed how “the origin of grapes from vineyards in occupied territory is masked or concealed, including a politically motivated re-drawing of wine regions in Israel, which deliberately obscures the occupied regions” – the Golan, for example, “is part of the ‘North’ region”.

According to Who Profits, “all forms of involvement detailed in the 2011 report continue to be relevant”, with additional factors now including “the introduction and growth of new foreign export markets, the expansion of settlement wine tourism, and new tax benefits and government grants to settlement wineries”.

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