Israeli fizzy-water maker SodaStream to set up plant in Gaza, CEO says
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Israeli fizzy-water maker SodaStream to set up plant in Gaza, CEO says

Daniel Birnbaum tells business conference that creating jobs in the Palestinian enclave can pave the way to peace

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum (l) and PepsiCo’s CEO Ramon Laguarta at the SodaStream factory in Israel’s Negev Desert next to the city of Rahat on August 20, 2018. (Eliran Avital)
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum (l) and PepsiCo’s CEO Ramon Laguarta at the SodaStream factory in Israel’s Negev Desert next to the city of Rahat on August 20, 2018. (Eliran Avital)

SodaStream, the Israeli maker of carbonated drinks that was acquired earlier this year by PepsiCo Inc. for $3.2 billion, is setting up a manufacturing plant in the Gaza Strip, its chief executive said at a conference in Jerusalem on Thursday.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told the Globes business conference that the company, which already has a mixed workforce of Jews and Arabs, is looking to expand that, Reuters reported.

Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, a territory controlled by the Islamist terror group Hamas, live in poverty, as the economy suffers from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and disputes with the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.

Birnbaum has made it a point of pride that the operation he runs is evidence that coexistence and cooperation are indeed possible, and that other companies should implement SodaStream’s model of respect and cooperation so as to a foster economic peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian workers at the Idan HaNegev factory of SodaStream in Israel, Nov. 15, 2018; (Federico Maccioni/TimesofIsrael)

The new project, Birnbaum said, sitting alongside PepsiCo’s CEO Ramon Laguarta at the conference, will see the establishment of a manufacturing facility in the Strip.

“We want the people of Gaza to have jobs, real jobs, because where there is prosperity, there can be peace,” Birnbaum said.

He did not reveal other details of the planned facility.

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