Industrial Zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Dynamic Report

In this dynamic report Who Profits takes a close look at Israeli Industrial Zones (IZs) constructed on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It also provides a provisional but substantive, list of Israeli and international corporations operating in Israeli IZs constructed on occupied land, including in the Syrian Golan.

There are 91 Israeli IZs. These are special zones planned for the purpose of industrial development and manufacturing. Nineteen of these Israeli IZs are situated either inside of, or in close proximity to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt) and 2 in the occupied Syrian Golan (Katzrin and Bnie Yehuda IZ).[1] These IZs house a wide spectrum of export-oriented Israeli manufacturers and a smaller number of international corporations. These corporations range from carpet manufacturers such as  Carmel Industries,  to more specialized industries such as D.N. Kol Gader, a manufacturer of security fences for military and civilian use, and the American company Greenkote Plc which produces advanced metal, alloy and plastic coatings for the automotive, construction, defense weaponry and other industries.

Israeli IZs constitute a foundational pillar of the economy of the occupation. They contribute to the economic development of the settlements, which are in violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, while relying on the de-development of the Palestinian economy and the exploitation of Palestinian land and labor. This update focuses on the economy of IZs in the oPt but these do not operate as independent economic bodies. IZs are an intrinsic part of the Israeli economy as a whole.

IZs are held up by corporations and Israeli politicians as being part of the framework of “economic peace”. It is argued that they provide employment opportunities for Palestinians and form spaces of interaction and coexistence between Palestinian and Israeli workers. Shraga Brosh, the head of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, noted that the employment of Palestinian workers “aids security in the region and advances economic peace”. [2] This claim was rejected outright by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a 2018 report[3] and by some 82% of Palestinian workers who stated that they would leave their jobs in the settlements, if there were another choice.[4]

Corporations which operate in the IZs are in violation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). These principles reaffirm corporate responsibility to respect human rights and standards of humanitarian law in conflict affected areas. In addition, corporate actors operating in Israeli IZs in the oPt also violate the 1998 International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which includes a commitment to protect worker’s rights to collective bargaining,[5] and its Decent Work Agenda[6], which calls for a global provision of decent employment, pay and conditions.

The first section of the update outlines structural governmental subsidies which incentivize corporate involvement in the IZs. The second section, goes on to consider how corporations in IZs both rely on, and profit from the de-development of the Palestinian economy and the systematic exploitation of the large reserves of Palestinian labor. Third, the update explains how IZs become a mechanism for the expropriation of Palestinian land. The IZs in the oPt form part of a practice of “financial annexation” which is an essential component of the broader policy of annexation taking place. The final section of the update provides a list of IZs operating as extensions of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as a list of individual companies identified by Who Profits to be working in the IZs.

All companies listed were contacted prior to publication. Where companies provided a letter of response, this has been included in the company’s profile page.


[1] Ministry of Economy and Industry, “Information about Industrial zones”, economy.gov.il

[2] Tali Heruti-Sover, “Peak in employing of Palestinian workers in Israel: More than 100,000 legal workers” (Hebrew) The Marker, 31 August 2017.

[3] United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, “UN rights office issues report on business and human rights in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”, ohchr.org/en.

[4] The Democracy and Workers Rights Center-Palestine, “Executive Summary of a study on Palestinian wage workers in Israeli settlements in the West Bank – Characteristics and Work Circumstances”, dwrc.org.

[5] International Labor Organization, “ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”, ilo.org

[6] International Labor Organization, “Decent Work”, ilo.org