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Israel has the right to defend itself :- frm Pepsi

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    Posted: 27-Apr-2008 at 08:29

 

Originally posted by Times Magazine

Soft Drink Fizz Goes Flat in Gaza

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007 By TIM MCGIRK/GAZA
Ammar Yazji stands in front of empty Pepsi and 7-Up bottles in his factory in Gaza.
David Blumenfeld for TIME
 

Every closed factory has its own kind of unbearable silence. The Yazegi Group's soft-drink plant in Gaza, with its maze of metal tubes and conveyor belts all switched off, has the hush of a futuristic mausoleum. Marketing manager Ammar Yazegi pauses beside empty 7Up bottles stacked in perfect emerald-green cubes up to the rafters and says, "I miss the music of the machines and workers. It's a beautiful noise. This silence drives me crazy."

 

His family misses another sound: the ka-ching! of money. For years the Yazegi Group had a captive market of 1.48 million Palestinians living in the narrow coastal strip of Gaza. Captive, unfortunately, is the right word because the Israelis, who are contending daily with rocket-firing Palestinian militants, have destroyed the airport and harbor and keep Gaza's inhabitants behind a concrete-and-barbed-wire fence that is 25 miles (40 km) long. Gaza has one entry and exit point, which the Israelis strictly control. Gazans refer to their overcrowded enclave without too much exaggeration as "the world's largest prison yard."

An abundance of cheap soft drinks provided a little refreshment in this sweltering environment. And the Yazegis were Gaza's kings of fizz. Ammar's grandfather opened the factory in 1954 and gradually acquired the franchises for Pepsi, 7Up and Mirinda (an orange-flavored drink) before passing on the business to his sons and later their sons. In his deserted office building, Ammar Yazegi, 27, serves guests chilled 7Up. "I find that 7Up from a glass bottle is most tasty. Don't you?" he asks. Yazegi, dressed in a black T shirt and matching denim jacket and jeans, looks as if he stepped out of a "Pepsi Generation" ad. On average, the Yazegis sold 10,000 cases of 2-L six-packs of Pepsi and 7Up a day, though demand often rose during the hot, humid summer months There is no Coke franchise in Gaza. Before the blockade, the National Beverage Company (the West Bank Coke bottler) trucked it into Gaza from Ramallah. Back then, a bottle of Pepsi sold for 65. Now a bottle costs $1.30--if you can find one.

Most businesses worry about competition, but for the Yazegis and other Gaza merchants, it's politics and the often deadly conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Gaza, along with the other Palestinian territory of the West Bank, was slapped with an economic blockade by Israel and the international community in early 2006 when Islamic militants belonging to Hamas--which is opposed to Israel's existence--won the Palestinian elections, beating President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement. That victory was reinforced in June when Hamas chased Fatah's armed militia out of Gaza. The Yazegis have thrived by steering clear of the fratricidal politics of the Palestinians. "We're caught between three sides," says Yazegi. "Hamas, Fatah and Israel."

Although the Yazegi operation is insignificant within PepsiCo's $5.5 billion sales of beverages outside the U.S., politics loom large for American companies in the Middle East. Pepsi and Coke have been in Arab markets for decades. Under pressure from Jewish lobby groups, Coca-Cola opened in Israel after 1966 and was slapped on an Arab boycott list from 1967 to 1991. Pepsi opened in Israel only in 1992, after the boycott was lifted, giving rise to the often-repeated slogan in the Arab world that "Coke is for Jews, Pepsi is for Arabs." Pepsi didn't escape unscathed. It's been a victim of rumors tying it to Israel. Still, Pepsi is the market leader in the Middle East, with a 75% share. A syrupy upstart, Mecca Cola, tries to appeal to Muslims.

PepsiCo's Middle East segment, which includes snack foods as well as soft drinks, "has experienced noteworthy growth and has developed into one of PepsiCo's key markets and engines for growth," notes Bear Stearns analyst Justin Todd Holt. It's led by Pepsi veteran Saad Abdul-Latif, who has skillfully and diplomatically steered the business in these complicated markets.

There was little Abdul-Latif could do in Gaza, where the Yazegis were caught out when Israel struck back against Hamas by banning imports of everything from cement to fertilizer, including the carbonating gas the Yazegis need to put fizzy bubbles into beverages. When the Yazegis asked why, Israeli authorities replied "for security reasons," although there didn't seem to be any military use of CO2. "If you hold a match to CO2, the flame is extinguished. You can't make bombs or rockets out of this stuff," says Yazegi. Adding to his frustration, he said, was that Israel initially let in Pepsi and 7Up supplied by Israeli bottlers. "How do I explain this?" asks Yazegi angrily. "Easy. They're trying to kill off Gaza's economy." Eventually, even Israeli-made Pepsi was banned.

Gaza's economy has atrophied. According to the latest U.N. figures, the shortages tied to a June tightening of the blockade have led to the closure of 90% of Gaza's factories, idling more than 85,000 workers. The 300 people employed by the Yazegis were among them. "It broke my heart. Some of the workers were with us since my grandfather's time," says Yazegi, adding that because there were no other jobs in Gaza, each worker supported about nine family members. More than 80% of Gazans scrape by on $2 a day or less; most could not survive without food handouts from the U.N.

Israel's strategy is to squeeze Gaza's economy, cutting off all but a drip-feed of humanitarian aid in the hope that civilians will turn against the Islamists of Hamas. Critics condemn this tactic as an unjust "collective punishment" on all of Gaza's inhabitants. Nor has it stopped Palestinian militants from firing hundreds of homemade rockets into Israel. "What harm is our Pepsi doing to Israel?" asks Yazegi. "The Israelis aren't punishing Hamas, they're punishing the people. The militants have money, guns ... they don't care about the siege." He contends that after decades of conflict, the Israelis still fail to understand the streak of defiance in a Palestinian's character. Coercion, he says, won't work.

In fact, the blockade may be driving once moderate Palestinians toward Hamas. The incentive is economic more than ideological: the Hamas militia is one of the few employers left. Says Dr. Eyad Sarraj, a mental-health expert in Gaza who is campaigning for an end to the siege: "The workers laid off from the factories are desperate. They have no money, no hope. So they go to the mosque and pray to God, and some will join Hamas seeking martyrdom as the only door to God." While awaiting a shortcut to paradise, the fighters' more earthy concerns are supplied by Hamas, which gives its militants food and money to feed their families. Yazegi says that dozens of his younger former employees joined Hamas. "And all they wanted was a normal life," he says.

Pacing through the funereal gloom of his empty factory, Yazegi glances up at the silent machinery and says, "All I need is for the Israelis to let me have the fizz. The workers will come back. We'll flip the switch and start right up again." And that would make life for the Palestinians of Gaza just a little sweeter.
 
 
Bravo! Another great victory in the war against terror. Well done chaps. I am sure many military units will proudly display the Battle Honour "GAZA PEPSI BOTTLING PLANT 2008".  Generations of recruits will sings ballads about the honour won.
 
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  Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2008 at 14:05
WTF?!?!?!?!
By the way, is it true that when holding the coca cola upside down a cryptic message appears in arabic letters?


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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2008 at 16:52

Hello flipper

That was a serious joke made by conspiracy theory in the same league with its sister PEPSI=Pay Every Penny Save Israel. Another joke was made againsts 7 up!. The trick is to take the coca cola logo, flip backwords, connect certain line together and voila! an insult to Islam that you only need to see through microscopes given only by the people who believed in this BS. I, being an avid Pepsi hater and coke fan, for football reasons, lead a fuitile campaign to bring some sense to those people despite being at that time one of the leading conspiracy theorists in my school, that even, a similar one against Pokemon and others made me start seeing how rediculous I was,even though I was just 17, and my change started then.
 
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  Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2008 at 16:55
So it is indeed a con? I mean would you be able to read it if it was arabic?
I didn't believe this in the beginning, but on a swedish program once a journalist tryed the trick on an old muslim man who seemed unaware of it and he readed something like "There's no Allah and no islam" or something. It was eather a cheap and unresponsible trick or i dunno.


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  Quote Yugoslav Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2008 at 17:23
Israel really overreacts on numerous occasions, reminding me of Bush's USA. 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-May-2008 at 17:28
Hey its all part of the war against Islam/Arabs..........er terror.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 08:39
Israel often complains that its neighbours don't respect its right to exist, using that to excuse war crimes and crimes against humanity. When a nation acts like this, quite frankly, they have no right to exist.
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  Quote erkut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 08:43
Originally posted by Flipper

So it is indeed a con? I mean would you be able to read it if it was arabic?
I didn't believe this in the beginning, but on a swedish program once a journalist tryed the trick on an old muslim man who seemed unaware of it and he readed something like "There's no Allah and no islam" or something. It was eather a cheap and unresponsible trick or i dunno.
 
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 08:46
Originally posted by Sparten

Hey its all part of the war against Islam/Arabs..........er terror.


Against Islam? I do not think so. You see Albanians and Bosnians are equally Muslims, but are under the help and support of the US. Turks are also Muslims, and they get weaponry and other help from the US.

Against Arabs? Maybe against those around Israel.


Edited by Spartakus - 15-May-2008 at 08:47
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--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 09:26

Is sarcasm dead.

 
 
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 10:04
Yep.
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 10:07

And half the Greek plays in history are dead with it then.

 
 
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  Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 11:44
Frankly, if a nation next to Israel elects a party that advocates military action against Israel and states in it's manefesto that Israel has no right to exist, Israel has a right to defend itself. The people who voted for the aforesaid party should have known better since they've lived through years of Israeli reprocussions.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 11:54
They say allegedly that Israel has no right to exist*. OTH Israel actually phsically denies them there right to exist. Oh well might is right as they say.
 
 
*In somuch as no nation has a right to exist, they exist only because they can exist not because they got a certificate allowing them to.
 
 
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 12:06
Originally posted by Sparten

And half the Greek plays in history are dead with it then.

 
 


Dead for certain people. Alive for the rest.Wink
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 12:12
Originally posted by Aster Thrax Eupator

Frankly, if a nation next to Israel elects a party that advocates military action against Israel and states in it's manefesto that Israel has no right to exist, Israel has a right to defend itself. The people who voted for the aforesaid party should have known better since they've lived through years of Israeli reprocussions.


Does not Israel advocate violence against Palestine and HAMAS?
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 15:38
Originally posted by Aster Thrax Eupator

Frankly, if a nation next to Israel elects a party that advocates military action against Israel and states in it's manefesto that Israel has no right to exist, Israel has a right to defend itself. The people who voted for the aforesaid party should have known better since they've lived through years of Israeli reprocussions.
 
Ireland had irredentist claims against the UK, and unofficially supported the IRA. Afghanistan has irredentist claims against Pakistan.  Should either of our countrys go and attack (or should have attacked) the other one because of that? Of course not. What makes Israel so special that it has that right?
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  Quote vulkan02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2008 at 16:24
I always liked Pepsi better.
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