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Intel stops $25bn investment in Israel — ‘Biggest victory yet,’ says BDS campaign

June 19, 2024 at 11:07 am

The logo of Intel is seen during Computex 2024 in Taipei on 4 June, 2024 [I-HWA CHENG/AFP via Getty Images]

US technology giant Intel has halted the construction of a new $25 billion factory in Israel, raising speculation that the factory construction is at risk of being cancelled as the war on the Gaza Strip continues for an eighth month.

The Sicho Infrastructure Company reported that it had received notification from Intel delaying and halting some work related to the expansion of the company’s new microchip factory in Kiryat Gat, Israel’s Calcalist website has reported. The remaining work related to the current halt amounts to only about 90 million shekels, while the company in charge of construction was supposed to receive half the amount in 2024.

The report added that it is continuing other work on the site and that the company is looking into the meaning of Intel’s announcement and whether it is entitled to compensation.

When the US company was asked about the Israeli site’s report, it noted the need to “adapt large projects to changing schedules,” without referring directly to the project, said Reuters.

“Israel continues to be one of our key global manufacturing and R&D sites, and we remain fully committed to the region,” explained Intel.

Last December, the Israeli government agreed to provide Intel with a $3.2bn grant to construct a $25bn microchip plant in southern Israel, calling it the largest-ever international investment in the country.

Intel stated previously that the proposed factory at its Kiryat Gat site, where it already has a plant, is an “important part of Intel’s efforts to foster a more resilient global supply chain” alongside the company’s investments in Europe and the United States.

Intel operates four development and production sites in Israel, including its manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat, known as Fab 28. The factory produces Intel 7 technology, or 10 nanometre chips. The planned Fab 38 factory was scheduled to open in 2028 and operate until 2035.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has described this as its biggest BDS victory ever. Nevertheless, it cautioned that, despite the latest news, “Intel still remains deeply complicit in feeding Israel’s genocidal war chest.” The movement called for escalating the #BoycottIntel campaign to force it to end its collusion with Israel altogether.

BDS added: “The news coincides with persistent indicators of a shocking decline in Israel’s economy. Already in February, Moody’s downgraded Israel’s credit rating for the first time in its history. Israel’s rating outlook was also changed to ‘negative’ reflecting its growing debt, budget deficit and structural economic woes.”

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