Coca-Cola said the factory will provide "good jobs"

Coca-Cola said the factory will provide "good jobs"

The Coca-Cola Co has confirmed it is to build a factory in Gaza, saying it reflects the company's “optimism for the future of the area”.

The soft drinks maker, which already operates three bottling plants and seven distribution centres in Palestine, told just-drinks the new facility will provide locally-manufactured beverages and “good jobs for the community". Israeli media reported yesterday that the first phase of the project will complete in the third quarter of next year.

A second phase will expand production to juices, water and other non-carbonated products, the Jerusalem Post reported. Each phase will cost a reported US$10m.

Gaza is a 365-square-kilometre, self-governed enclave of Palestine that is controlled by Hamas. It has seen three wars in the past six years and Israel imposes tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out.

Reports yesterday claimed that Coca-Cola has received permission from Israeli army forces for materials and supplies to enter Gaza.

Israel-based SodaStream International confirmed last month it is shutting two of its facilities, including a controversial site in the West Bank.