GAZA CITY: Soft drinks firm hit by Israel attack

By Shabtai Gold | 19 February 2009

Gaza soft drinks producer Yazji Group has accused Israel of using white phosphorous explosives to destroy its factory during last month's war in the Gaza Strip, and of blocking the import of materials needed to rebuild the plant.

Yazji, which is licenced to produce Pepsi and 7UP in the Palestinian territories, told just-drinks this week that it is still waiting for borders to open to import goods needed to restart work at the plant, one month after Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip.

"[Israeli troops] attacked our plant with helicopters and tanks and knocked down a two-storey building which was full of raw materials. They destroyed it," said general manager Nasser Yazji.

He said the damage totalled US$1.3m.

"Part of the attack on the plant used [white] phosphorus, it was burned. But it doesn't matter how it was destroyed, it was destroyed," he said.

Israel has officially denied using white phosphorous in built-up areas during the conflict, a practice that is widely interpreted as breaching the Geneva Convention.

Yazji said he did not know when his plant would reopen. "We will have to wait for the borders because we need raw materials. We have no such materials in Gaza now to rebuild."

The Palestinian Federation of Industries said that 12 Gaza food and drink plants were seriously damaged in the short war, including a Mecca Cola plant.

Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

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