Construction of Coca Cola’s first factory in the Gaza Strip began Monday, as the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities (COGAT) in the Territories oversaw the entry of the initial construction equipment into the coastal enclave.
The factory, which will be located in Gaza’s Karmi industrial zone, will cost $20 million and is expected to eventually employ 1,000 workers, according to a report on the Israeli NRG news site.
The construction equipment originated in Jordan, entered Israel through the Yitzhak Rabin border terminal, and was brought into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing Monday afternoon.
The project’s initiators are Palestinian entrepreneurs Munib al-Masri and Zahi Khouri. Khouri is the chairman of the Palestinian National Beverage Company and owns three Coca Cola franchises in the West Bank.
Coca Cola said that, in addition to providing hundreds of jobs for Gazans, the new factory will lead to the launch of social programs in the Strip.
The venture was approved earlier in 2014 by COGAT — the IDF unit that coordinates between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government.
A Pepsi factory in Gaza has been producing 7-Up since 1962 and Pepsi Cola since 1997.