Jordan Valley, 29 Rabiul Awwal 1434/9 February 2013 (MINA) – The Company Chairman of EDOM Jimmy Russo has told Corporate Watch that he plans to resign from his chairmanship and “actively seek to sell” his 20% shareholding in the Israeli company on Thursday (7/2).
His announcement was in reply to questions about new evidence found by Corporate Watch that EDOM UK (an Israeli company) is packaging cherry tomatoes in the Israeli settlement of Beit Ha’arava in the occupied Jordan Valley, according to IMEMC report received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) Saturday (9/2).
According to the website WhoProfits.org (tracker companies involved with Israeli settlements or contracted with the Israeli military) EDOM UK exports from a packing house in the settlement of Thomer.
Around 20% of company shares are held by the British Glinwell company, another 20% are held by the British Valley Grown Salads (the company that is preparing to divest its holdings), 30% by Chosen Agricultural Products from the Arava (owned by farmers from the Arava region) and 30% by Magnolia U.K. Holdings (of Yaron Yarchi and Yinon Horesh).
Back in 2010 Corporate Watch urged Russo to divest his shares. The group wrote: “To continue to maintain shares in EDOM is to ignore the suffering of those who have lived their entire lives under Israeli apartheid and occupation. The only way to remain ethical in this context is to divest.”
In its 2010 report, Corporate Watch found that not only does Edom directly profit from the occupation by operating in the Jordan Valley, they also found immediate evidence of worker exploitation tied to their business when they talked to Palestinians in the area.
According to two men working in the fields opposite Tomer, pickers working in the fields supplying Edom’s packing house get paid 60 Shekels a day -less than half the current Israeli minimum wage (which Palestinians are legally entitled to) and work on a day to day basis without contracts.
The men also confirmed that children as young as 13 work with them in the fields where they pick tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines: all produce advertised by Valley Grown Salads through their UK web-site. (T/P03/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)