McDonald’s Israel wins airport tender despite charges of boycotting West Bank

Settler groups say unwillingness to open stores in West Bank constitutes an illegal boycott, had called on airport not to award burger chain lucrative concession

A man walks into a McDonald's restaurant in central Jerusalem, on April 13, 2016. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
A man walks into a McDonald's restaurant in central Jerusalem, on April 13, 2016. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

McDonald’s Israel won a tender to operate its fast-food restaurants at Ben-Gurion Airport, despite a protest by settler leaders because the chain will not open branches in West Bank settlements.

The seven-year concession period, which can be extended by up to 24 months, was announced Sunday by the Israel Airports Authority, the Israeli business daily Globes reported. The restaurants – in the departure hall and Sky Hall in Terminal 3 and stands in the departure hall in Terminal 1 – currently are operated by the Israeli franchise Burger Ranch.

The unwillingness to open McDonald’s franchises in the West Bank is a boycott and therefore illegal under Israel’s Boycott Law, Samarian Regional Council Mayor Yossi Dagan had charged earlier this month, later echoed by other settler leaders

McDonald’s Israel is headed by Omri Padan, a founder of Peace Now, which regards settlements as one of the largest obstacles to the two-state solution. In 2013, Padan said he would not open a branch in a new mall in Ariel because it is located in the West Bank.

McDonald’s Israel said the international McDonald’s office has not approved branches in the West Bank.

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