Gaza Gets Economic Boost as Coca-Cola Opens $20 Million Bottling Plant

Despite difficulties to bring goods into Gaza, factory hopes to employ up to 1,000 Palestinians directly or indirectly and keep 3 million bottles in circulation.

A picture shows the new Coca-Cola bottling facility in the industrial area east of Gaza City on December 1, 2016.
A picture shows the new Coca-Cola bottling facility in the industrial area east of Gaza City on December 1, 2016.Credit: Mohammed Abed / AFP

The Gaza Strip received a new economic boost on Wednesday, with the opening of a Coca-Cola Co. bottling plant that will serve the local population with some 3 million recycled bottles in circulation, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The world-wide soft drink company invested in the $20 million factory alongside their Palestinian partner in the West Bank, the National Beverage Company.

Construction on the plant began with the approval of Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories in December 2014, just months after the end of Israel's last war against the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The factory's owners are Nablus billionaire Munib al-Masri and Palestinian-American businessman Zahi Khouri, who told the Wall Street Journal that "We see the reality of the living conditions. What we are doing in Gaza will be to our benefit."

According to AFP, the factory was built on a 15,000 square-meter site just a few hundred meters from the Israeli border. Some 1,000 Palestinians are expected to find employment through the plant, either directly or indirectly.

"It's a message to a lot of investors and global companies that investments in Gaza can succeed," Yasser Arafat, the Gaza manager of NBC told AFP. "If we can move away from fear we can reduce unemployment."

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