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Israeli fashion hits West Bank

Fox clothing chain set to open branch in Ramallah; Palestinian activists threaten boycott, accuse leaders, store owners of ‘normalization’

Supermodel Bar Refaeli posing for Fox fashion campaign in 2009. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Supermodel Bar Refaeli posing for Fox fashion campaign in 2009. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

Israeli-based fashion giant Fox is apparently set to open a branch in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The clothing chain recently put up advertisements at a Ramallah mall announcing that its new shop, which will sell clothes for women, men and children, is to open in the city’s commercial center, Ynet news reported Monday.

The Ramallah branch would be Fox’s first in a Palestinian city.

Although initial responses to the opening of the store among local Palestinians were mainly positive, some Palestinian activists have voiced extreme disdain for the act, accusing store owners, as well as Palestinian Authority leaders, of attempting to “normalize” the situation in the West Bank.

“The Fatah movement continues to disregard the suffering of the West Bank residents,” one enraged activist charged via social media. “It is doing everything it can in order to gain the Israeli trust and is trying to cooperate with them on the highest level, even though they are the Palestinian people’s enemy,” he concluded.

Other activists threatened to boycott the chain and said they would appeal to Palestinian courts in order to thwart the shop’s opening.

Fox Corporation currently manages 135 stores in Israel as well as another 245 in countries across the world, including Singapore, Mongolia, Russia and Thailand.

Last week, Swedish furniture chain IKEA said it is considering setting up one of its signature megastores in Ramallah.

Two VIPs from the international do-it-yourself store visited the Palestinian Authority last month to meet with PA Minister of National Economy Jawad al-Naji, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

There are two branches of IKEA in Israel, one in Netanya and the other in Rishon Lezion, both of which have attracted hordes of shoppers eager to purchase furniture that can be put together — at least in theory — quickly and simply at home. IKEA shops don’t come small: The Rishon Lezion branch sprawls over 36,000 square meters, while that in Netanya is 26,000 square meters in size. A third, 30,000-square-meter branch is scheduled to open in Kiryat Ata in 2014.

The addition of a Palestinian Authority IKEA store will benefit the Israeli branches by simplifying the supply of parts and stock to the whole area, the report said.

There is also talk of establishing IKEA Point stores in Jerusalem and Beersheba. The Point stores are smaller versions of the IKEA megastore.

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