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Citing war on Gaza, British coffee chain Pret cancels plans to open in Israel

June 3, 2024 at 3:55 pm

UK coffee and fresh food chain Pret a Manger pulled out of an agreement to open branches in Israel as a result of the war on Gaza its franchisee said on 2 June 2024. The chain had come under pressure from human rights groups not to support Israel’s attacks on Gaza [Palestine Solidarity Campaign]

British coffee chain Pret A Manger has cancelled plans to open in Israel due to the ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.

Pret had announced last year plans to open its first outlet in Tel Aviv by the end of 2024 and establish more than 40 branches in the apartheid state over the next ten years.

However, in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Friday, franchisee Israeli Fox-Wizel Group announced that Pret A Manger had invoked a ‘force majeure’ clause, which allows parties to nullify contractual obligations due to extreme and unforeseeable circumstances.

A Pret spokesperson told World Coffee Portal: “We have taken the difficult decision to end our current agreement with Fox Group and Yarzin Sella Group.”

“We tried to delay this decision for as long as possible, but the significant ongoing travel restrictions have meant that our teams have not been able to conduct the checks and training needed to set up Pret in a new market. We want to express our sincerest thanks to the teams at Fox Group and Yarzin Sella Group, who have been supportive and extremely collaborative partners,” it added.

According to the Times of Israel, Fox-Wizel Group plans to oppose this decision and reject the coffee chain’s claims.

Pret’s decision to withdraw its planned investment in Israel follows mounting pressure from pro-Palestinian groups – including Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) – and boycott campaigns, highlighting concerns over Israel’s apartheid regime and ongoing violations of international law. According to FOA, “The CEO ended up blocking any incoming emails from the FOA campaign website!”

“Pret’s decision sends a powerful message, if any company supports occupation and genocide then the complicity will be met with boycott and robust actions. This win is a hugely welcomed end to FOA’s #PretApartheid and FOA thanks all its supporters who made this victory happen for Palestine  Let’s continue strong and push on with our campaigning for a free Palestine,” the campaign group said.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), said: “This decision sends a message to all companies – if you provide support for Israel’s apartheid and genocide against Palestinians, you will face the strength of our movement who will boycott your products and protest at your stores. Israel has got away with crimes against humanity for too long.”

“The people of the world are holding Israel to account by refusing to let their spending or saving finance war crimes. It’s high time our political leaders followed suit by ending arms sales, and financial and diplomatic support to Israel.”

READ: Maldives bans Israelis from entering country over Gaza war