Sinokrot: Academic Report on Successful PA Company
Sinokrot Holdings is a very successful family business in the Palestinian Authority (PA). A case study examining the reasons for its success was published in the first volume of a new economics and accounting journal. The description of success in view of very difficult conditions for entrepreneurship would have been much more valuable if they had told the truth about the complex challenges facing small businesses in the PA. However, in view of the recent murder of an activist critical of the PA leadership it is quite understandable why the company directors would not want anything negative to be written about the impact of PA corruption on their business. Instead, they direct their frustration and ire at Israel. Were the authors to discuss legitimate problems concerning Israel, it would have had a place in an academic journal. However, their inclusion of blatant propaganda lies against Israel in no way contributes to the article and, in fact, calls into question the integrity of the new academic journal as a whole. Given space considerations, I can only relate to a few points from the article.
Sinokrot Holdings in a Hostile Environment?
It is understood that the PA environment is not the most conducive to small businesses. For example, when the PA anticipated receiving lower American funds because of the Taylor Force Act, they passed the losses on to the car dealerships by increasing import duties and endangering these businesses. It would be interesting to learn how Sinokrot Holdings deals with such events but there was no word of difficulties of this nature. Instead, the authors repeat unsubstantiated propaganda points that can be found at anti-semitic Apartheid Week events on Western university campuses, such as:
Businesses in Palestine function under crucial adverse conditions such as the Israeli closure policy, movement restrictions, and round-the-clock curfews. Palestinians are threatened with extreme poverty due to the separation wall’s construction (Abu Ras & Mohamed, 2018; UN, 2004).
There are closures, restrictions of movement and curfews when there is intelligence telling of an impending terrorist attack. These are not routine. In fact, even B’Tselem, the extreme left anti-Zionist NGO admits on their website that most checkpoints are unmanned and everyone passes by unhindered even at the rare checkpoint with a permanent presence of soldiers — unless, of course, there is intelligence of an impending terrorist attack!
The separation wall was constructed after incessant terrorist attacks over the border during the second intifada in 2000 and were there no terrorist attacks, there would be no wall. To ignore the context of terror is to mislead readers who may not know this history. Furthermore, the wall did not threaten to cause “extreme poverty”; the terror situation meant that the number of Palestinian workers employed in Israel (at double the salaries to be had in the PA) was reduced by at least half, thereby reducing many family incomes. Again, without needing to protect herself against suicide terrorists, Palestinian workers would still be moving freely across the border to work in Israel.
The following paragraph is highly inaccurate and deceptive:
Although the Palestinian economy enjoyed substantial growth following the 1993-1994 Oslo peace accords between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Palestinian authority’s establishments, this growth period masked deep-seated structural imbalances and weaknesses inherited from the occupation period.
First of all, the “West Bank” economy rose and fell a number of times between 1968 and 1999 (as well as afterward). The low points occurred in response to Israel’s closures and reduced employment of Palestinians because of the two intifadas and the loss of jobs of Palestinians living in Kuwait after they put their support behind Sadam Hussein during the Gulf War. Until then, the remittences of their earnings to family living in Judea & Samaria had been a substantial contribution to the economy.
Secondly, the “deep-seated structural imbalances and weaknesses” were not “inherited” from the Israeli so-called occupation period but in fact from the Jordanian occupation period of 1948-1967, a period of time not studied sufficiently and totally ignored by contemporary historians. It is almost as if researchers believe nothing of significance occurred in Judea & Samaria before the Jews won the land back. In fact, no industry was initiated, no universities established in the “West Bank” under Jordan. According to the few studies available (e.g., Baster, 1955; Sela, 2019; Schein, 2013; Taher, 1979), the great Palestinian Naqba can perhaps be said to be the capture and illegal annexation of what Jordan called The West Bank. Schein writes:
Mazur notes that in 1950 there was a ‘great gap in modernization’ between the residents of the West Bank and the East Bank. He writes, ‘The Palestinian Arabs were more urban, more cosmopolitan, and more educated than the Arabs of Transjordan’ (17). This suggests that in 1950 the per capita income in the West Bank was higher than in the East Bank, but by 1967 this had been reversed.
This observation is repeated in all the articles linked to above. The reasons given are not only the greater education of the Arabs living west of the Jordan River but also because they had had easy access to Haifa and Ashdod ports and to much of their more arable land in what ended up on the Israeli side of the armistace line in 1948. It can not even be imagined how the Arabs living in Judea & Samaria would have fared had the Arab states not tried to wipe out the newly declared State of Israel in 1948. This is an aspect I have not seen raised in any discussion of the Naqba.
Thus, economic growth in the Jordanian occupied West Bank declined after Jordan (and Egypt and Syria) unsuccessfully tried to destroy the Jewish state in 1948 and lasted until 1967, in what came to be known as the 7-Day War, when Israel regained control of Judea & Samaria (and the Golan, Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula). In fact, after the 7-Day War, Arabs from the formerly Jordan-occupied territories found employment in Israel and initially there were no border checkpoints. Movement was free in both directions, with Arabs working in Israel and Israelis shopping in Arab towns. The “West Bank” saw a steadily increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) until suicide terror attacks increased and Israel had to close the border to protect her citizens. In this way, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria only succeeded in losing the significant means of economic sustenance they had enjoyed when in cooperation with the Jewish state.
The Phony Map: “Palestinian” Loss of Land
I must admit that I was surprised to see this fake map, that is generally used for propaganda purposes, appear in an academic journal given that the articles are supposed to have undergone expert peer review. Any expert should know that this map tells a lie. For a comprehensive treatment of the problems with the map, see the article by former director for foreign policy, Israeli National Security Council Shany Mor.
In brief, let me just mention that what they are referring to in green as “Palestinian” land in 1946 is merely state land under the Ottoman Empire and then under the British Mandate. There never was a sovereign Palestine and therefore there was no way that “Palestine” could control public lands.Furthermore, a distinction needs to be made between publicly owned and privately owned land. The white sections indicate land privately owned by Jews, thereby confounding public and private lands. This map series, then, tries to argue that the Jews stole land from Arabs, but that is simply not true.
The 1947 map shows what the Palestinian Arabs could have controlled if they had accepted the UN Partition Play. They did not. The 1949-1967 map shows the Gaza Strip that was occupied by Egypt and the so-called West Bank that was occupied by Jordan. Again, there was no Palestinian controlled public land. The 2016 map shows areas under the control of the Oslo-created Palestinian Authority in a contract signed by Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1993. The correct understanding of the situation would be that from having absolutely no public lands ever, there is now a Palestinian political entity that has control over land. In other words, “Palestine” did not lose land, they acquired control over land they never had.
The Sinokrot Success Story
The authors write:
Established in 1982, Sinokrot Global Group (SGG) managed to grow from a small confectionery company known as Sinokrot Food Company to the largest family-owned business group in Palestine. Located inside the Industrial Zone near Ramallah’s city in the West Bank, they started their business by manufacturing several confectioneries, including nougats, wafers, and chocolates. SGG, which is currently one of the leading organizations in the Middle East, chose to expand by diversifying its business vertically and horizontally into sectors or Strategic Business Units (SBUs), as shown in Figure 2.
Further, the rapid growth that SGG experienced put them under enormous pressure to expand their social responsibility, not only toward the employees and their families but also toward the Palestinian community. SGG has 3500 employees working in 400 outlets who provide 2,700 family members in 70 cities, villages, and refugee camps (Khoyira, 2008).
This is certainly commendable and I am sure that each one of those 3500 employees are glad for the work. The authors present this case as a role model for family businesses setting up in other “challenging conditions”, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria:
Solid relationships with the government, institutions, NGOs and international groups ease some of the company’s barriers and threats. SGG takes an active role in formulating economic laws and regulations in cooperation with local government.
What the authors euphemistically call “solid relationships with the government….” is actually a corrupt and unacceptable relationship in a corrupt government. The CEO of Sinokrot Holdings was a Minister of National Economy in the government of the PA and says so on the company website. As such, he is a member of the elite leadership against which protests are becoming more frequent on the part of the PA citizens who are tired of being under their thumb, lied to, and stolen from (much of the humanitarian and infrastructure funds donated by foreign governments go into private pockets and do not improve the lives of the people). The “active role in formulating laws and regulations” for businesses is blatant manipulation of their power and connections. Do the expert peer reviewers of this article support that kind of behaviour on the part of family businesses attempting to make it under “challenging conditions”?
Feature Image Credit: Screenshot of Sinokrot Holdings Instagram Account image. Note how “Palestine” is all of Israel.
I met a Palestinian woman who was 5 when she and her family left her home in Palestine in 1948 to take temporary refuge in Syria. She has never been able to go home. What a horrific crime.
Do you care?
Should this woman receive justice?
Come to Israel and I can introduce you to any of the 800K Jewish refugees thrown out of Arab lands in which they lived for up to thousands of years (such as Iraq), just because they were Jews, in retaliation for the fact that the Jews won the war of annihilation started by the Arab states in 1948 because they could not countenance a Jewish country in lands that Muslims once controlled (you do know, of course, that the Arabs invaded and colonized lands across MENA in 650 and then the Ottomans (Turks) controlled this land as part of their empire (what they saw as a Caliphate). Jewish property was stolen and they will never get it back nor be allowed to return.
All such victims of war are unfortunate and such victims of war can be found around the world in many ethnic and national groups. What is justice when these are the results of war? Are you willing to provide the same justice you want for the Palestinian woman as you want for Jewish and other refugees of wars? And when does such justice begin to be applied? While the war is still ongoing or only after peace will have been achieved (perhaps as part of a peace deal, as is stipulated, in fact, in peace deals Israel has offered to the Palestinian Authority).
I told you about a tragedy that befell a 5 year old and her family and you pretty much ignored this tragedy. How sad and dehumanizing. How insensitive.
The family that I described was not a victim of war. You delude yourself. The family was a victim of settler colonialism. The family was a victim of people who intended to dispossess non-Jews from the land, as Herzl wrote in his diary in about 1895. The family was the victim of cruel and inhuman people like David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin, and and Moshe Dayan.
You do not understand the term “settler colonialism” if that is how you view Israel. And you know a few propaganda bytes but not history.
We can debate settler colonialism, but there is no doubt that political Zionism included and still includes the dispossession of non-Jews from the land. Where this dispossession is not possible, then Israel has cordoned off the Palestinians.
The evidence of all this is not only overwhelming, but the proof is in the pudding.The Zionists have dispossessed the non-Jews in the land, have stolen their property, have stolen their land, have stolen their bank accounts, and the contents of their safe deposit boxes, and have cordoned them off in Gaza and Areas A and B of the West Bank.
Show me proof that Israel has stolen non-Jewish property, land, bank accounts and contents of safe deposit boxes. That is absolutely ridiculous but if you show me proof I will believe it. We have cordoned off Gaza and Areas A and B for security reasons. If you pooh-pooh our need for security then, while I imagine you accept that Black Lives Matter, you do not believe that Jewish Israeli lives matter. And in spite of the fact that we have cordoned off these areas beyond our borders, as most nations do, we still admit Palestinian Arabs in to work and to get medical care and to get professional training.
Wow, and you just accused me of not knowing history. The crimes that I listed are well known facts. I’ll get you a link to an article about the stolen bank accounts and the stolen contents of safe deposit boxes – at gunpoint. As for stolen land and property, really, you don’t know about this?
Here you go:
As for stolen land and property, you must be familiar with Israel’s Absentee Property Laws, enacted in the early 1950s, by which it seized land and property of Palestinian Arabs that were expelled or denied reentry, and for which not a single penny has ever been paid. This is theft on a grand scale.
Thank-you for this link. This is horrifying and there are other things that happened in Israel in the 50s that horrify me. It is not surprising that I was not aware of this freezing (stealing) of accounts and contents of safe deposit boxes as the author, himself, writes that this has not been reported or examined in any other scholarly journals. His own thesis apparently was not published in a journal and the thesis was only cited 8 times, of those 8 only 2 were cited by another few articles. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention and I will keep it in mind as I continue my research in various topics.
I did a bit more exploring and found out that there were Barclay’s Bank branches in Gaza and the West Bank which were occupied 1948-1967 by Egypt and Jordan, respectively. It would be interesting to check what happened to the moneys and safe deposit boxes of Palestinian Arabs in those branches because Barclay’s pulled out of the region totally in 1948. I wonder about the Ottoman Bank in Gaza and the West Bank. Just curious.
As for absenttee property laws – yes. I know about those. As I told you before, compensation for these is already in the peace deals that the PA has repeatedly refused. So the refugees will be compensated when there will be a peace accord and not a moment before. That is not theft. The amount of compensation has to be negotiated.
I’ve explained to you why the Absentee Property Laws amounted to theft and why Israel’s offer to pay when there is a final settlement is without a doubt a specious argument. The properties were stolen in 1948, long before the PA was formed and long before Israel offered any settlement. In 1948, is when compensation became due, although the property owners still own the property and still have a right to return to them. And I hope that they return someday, those that want to, all of them, and that they are paid back rent since 1948 with interest. They are still the property owners.
Please don’t tell me that the appropriation of the property was “legal”. So was slavery, and so was what the Nazis did. Something can be legal and still be morally reprehensible, like the Absentee Property Laws.
We’ll agree to disagree on this.
Has it ever cross mind to say I’m sorry or to apologize when you hear a story about the 5 year old that I told you about? That would be a good start toward peace, instead of blaming the victims. The Zionists need to admit to and atone for their crimes, as do Palestinians who have committed terrorist attacks. But only one side has engaged in massive state sponsored terrorism, oppression, discrimination, segregation, et cet.
You are now comparing Zionism to slavery and the Nazis? This just shows that we cannot agree on anything because we do not agree on a basic premise — that the Jews are the indigenous people whose nationality was established on the Land of Israel. That is what allows you to regard the Jews as settler-colonialists. That is what allows you to compare the Zionists with slavers and Nazis. So no, I will not apologize for having won a war of intended extermination against us that they started. That 5 YO girl is the collatoral damage of THEIR war. Had the Arab neighbours not started the war in 1948, history would be far different. So no, I do not apologize. And I also do not accept your final statement. We are doing what we can to survive, thrive, and still be as ethical as possible. I can hear you snort at that. But since you believe that the establishment of the modern State of Israel was a mistake, that we Israelis are the product of original sin, then we really will not agree on anything because you will not look at what we are doing to try to be all of that: surviving, thriving and still ethical.
I will examine where we make, and have made, mistakes. But I will not apologize for winning the wars waged against us.
Nothing I wrote came close to comparing Zionists with Nazis or slavery. Try reading what I wrote again.
There was never a war of annihilation, that is Hasbara in the extreme.
Zionists started the strife in the land. Zionism is the root of the strife.
The family that I described were not combatants. Your condemnation of an entire group of people,
even if the Zionists were not to blame, based on the actions of a small percentage of those people is reprehensible. That’s called collective punishment and you’re a big fan of it.
You are not indigenous to the land. You’re from Toronto and your known ancestors are from Europe. The indigenous argument is sophistry.
Try reading what you wrote again – comparing legality is comparing the issues.
I am not condemning an entire group of people — you are.
Perhaps you should read the article I wrote and published on this website about Ras Ali. Gives a different perspective to being Bedouin in Israel.
And perhaps you should also read people like Bassem Eid, Shadi Halloul Riso, Inon Dan Kehati, Jonathan Elkhoury on Facebook for starters. These are people who have cricitism about Israel but also see the country from a different perspective.
The Zionists dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before Israel declared independence. Not sure from whom they think they were declaring independence. They weren’t. It was a conquest.
The notion that the Arabs started a war of annihilation is specious.
Can you please give me a link to a source for these two statements? 1. that the Zionists dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (who did not call themselves Palestinians back then) before 1948; and 2. that the Arabs did not start a war of annihilation against us. You see that I read what you provide me and if there is something in what you provide, I incorporate it into my understanding of the situation and of history.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. The reason that 5 year girl and her family could no go home was not because of a war of annihilation or because they were enemy combatants. The reason was that they weren’t Jewish.
The Zionists wanted a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine with a majority Jewish population. That necessarily entailed dispossessing the non-Jewish population, which the Palestinian Arabs knew quite well. That necessarily entailed not recognizing the Palestinians’s right to self-determination. There are some of the causes of the strife.
The Zionist leadership could disregard the rights of the Palestinians because they racists/bigots, like Chaim Weissman.
when you provide me with sources I will deal with what you say here.
Giving examples of things that were legal but immoral is In no way comparing those things. It’s simply offering up proof that just because something is done according to a state’s law doesn’t make it right.
As for an alleged war of annihilation, it’s a basic fact that the Arab forces marshaled against the Zionists were not substantial enough to come close to annihilating Israel. As for the Palestinians, they couldn’t even keep themselves from being expelled, how on earth were they going to annihilate anyone?
You can read about the balance of forces here:
There wasn’t even substantial fighting between Israel, on the one hand, and Syria, Lebanon, and Trans-Jordan/Iraqi forces, on the other hand, especially after the first phase of the war. Trans-Jordan, which had the best Arab army, wasn’t even looking to get into a war with Israel. King Abdullah only wanted to expand his kingdom into the West Bank, which is exactly what he did.
Egypt, the only other Arab army that was involved, had its best forces tied down in Yemen, if I recall correctly. Egyptian forces did make inroads toward Tel-Aviv, but those forces were so inept that a small group of fighters at Yad Mordechai slowed the Egyptian advance for, I believe,
6 days. Thereafter, Israeli forces easily routed the Egyptian army.
Arab leaders made some horrible boasts, but Israel’s neighboring Arab countries never launched a war of annihilation. That is a fatuous claim. It was Israel doing the annihilation, specifically, expelling Palestinians or not allowing innocents who fled a war zone to return home, land theft, property theft, robbing banks and safe deposit boxes.
You are so wrong. And wikipedia is not a source I respect. But at least you did not quote electronic intifada or the like. Here is a book that you may consider reading or ignore as I assume you ignored my earlier suggestions for other reading: The Rise of Israel. It deals with the issues you raise better than I can and in more detail than what I can do in a comment. Benny Morris changed his views as he learned more in later years. Ilan Pappe and Khalidi are more propagandist than academic researchers.
I told you why I was totally unaware of the bank situation – it has not been reported and the study you suggested I read has only been cited 8 times. I have a feeling many people are not aware of that having happened. I will not apologize for not having known or for saying it was a ridiculous idea when you said it at first. Are you so easily offended that you need an apology? I would have thought that my expressing appreciation and telling you I found it informative was enough to show respect.
This is getting tiresome. You regard us as a settler-colonial society and yet we are a true revivial of an ancient indigenous people. If you are Jewish, then I suppose you also attended Pesach Seders that ended with “Next Year in Jerusalem”. How did we manage to maintain our culture, spiritual traditions and language over 2000 years of exhile in often hostile host countries around the globe? We are a miracle and I am proud to be a member of the tribe. Doesn’t mean I idealize us or think we never err. We certainly do. But we are a work in progress and I am very proud of what we have accomplished and at our efforts to maintain a moral society. Snort all you want at that. It is so true. Just look up on Facebook the people I suggested to see what minorities who live here and are not mostly not Muslim feel.
We agree, you ignore inconvenient facts.
And you put words in my mouth. I have never said the Palestinians or the countries surrounding Israel are wholly innocent or without agency. But I have focused on the root of the strife, political Zionism.
Please read this article and watch the movie, Blue Box.
Whoops, forgot the link:
Looking the Nakba dead in the eye – Opinion
That should be a link to an article in Haaretz.
I’ll provide sources when I have time.
You accused me of not knowing history, but you ask me to document well known facts. You called my allegations about the seizure of Arab bank accounts and the contents of safe deposit boxes ridiculous. Then I sent you proof of this.
It’s high time that you apologize to me.
As for expulsions, the sources are numerous. You can read Rashid Khalidi’s The One Hundred Years War On Palestine, chapter 2 I believe, Nur Masalah’s Expulsion Of The Palestinians, or The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe. Benny Morris also has written on this.
This article will give you an overview:
Labels like settler colonialism, at the end of the day, don’t matter, facts matter. There were expulsions of innocents and a refusal to allow innocents to go home, all based on religious discrimination. There was property theft, land theft and bank robbery. The Zionists always intended to dispossess the non-Jews from the land they intended to turn into a Jewish state, as Herzl wrote in his diary in 1895. The evidence of this is overwhelming. All these crimes cry out for justice, just as wrongs against Jews do.
I am an atheist and I am not a fan of the three not so great not so monotheistic religions. I have 100% Jewish ancestry.
Ancient Hebrews spread throughout the world by emigration and expulsions, and I believe mostly by emigration. After all, by 70 A.D., there were Hebrew communities throughout the Roman Empire, and people exile by Rome as slaves did not fare well.
I mouthed next year in Jerusalem as a child. The notion that this gave me a property right, or any right, in the land between the river and the sea is arrant nonsense. The notion that you, from Toronto, went home to Israel from exile, is more arrant nonsense. Chose to believe creation myths if you want, all countries have them, I imagine. Certainly, George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree as a child.
The notions that modern Jews should have superior rights to non-Jews in he land or should be able to dispossess non-Jews from the land is repugnant.
You criticize me for disparaging your sources and then dismiss mine out of hand. The quintessential kettle calling the pot black. Rashid Khalidi is a distinguished professor at Columbia. Benny Morris never recanted his thorough study of the expulsions.
What the Zionists have done to the Palestinians is monstrous. When the Zionists atone for their actions, peace will be closer.
The difference between you and me is that I read material you sent me and those authors you mentioned and I admit I have much to learn. The situation is much more complex than you seem to understand. You can continue to read my articles if you please but regardless of the topic you harp on the same tired anti-Zionist propaganda bytes and I will just ignore you comments from now on. (like you ignore my suggestions. You might even have found my article on Ras Ali interesting, and perhaps even the one on contrasting Druze views of the Nation State Law. Oh well.)
Really? You read Nur Masalha and Rashid Khlaidi? You read The Lemon Tree by Sandy Golan; City of Oranges by Adam LaBor; Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar translated by Nicholas de Lange and Yaacob Dweck, afterword by David Shulman; Genesis by John Judis?
You’re welcome. The bank accounts were initially frozen, in June 1948, weeks after Israeli independence, but were outright seized about a year later, contrary to Israeli assurances.
Hello, bury your head in the sand if you want. But maybe you should read this:
One quote from the story about Joseph Weitz: In 1940, he [Weitz] wrote: “After the Arabs are transferred, the country will be wide open for us…not a single village, a single tribe must be left…there is no other solution.”
My last comment to you: people wrote a lot of things, facts speak differently. We are so ineffective at ethnic cleansing that the Israeli Arab population has grown tremendously, Arabs study in every institution, work in every profession, reach the highest positions in the country, etc. I have read much of what you think I should. You seem to think that reading that should be enough to convince me but I read on all sides of an issue and I read EVERYTHING critically. I saw no evidence you consider reading what I suggested. That makes this a one-sided conversation that I am no longer interested in continuing.
The only recommendation that I didn’t read was Efraim Krash. And I did read one of his book and found it utterly lacking. I hadn’t decided on your most recent recommendation. I have read your posts.
We agree that Israel has not been entirely successful in expelling non-Jews from the land. That is one reason why Israel has turned to cordoning off non-Jews in Gaza and Areas A and ab of the West Bank.
But to deny that political Zionism did not entail the dispossession of non-Jews from the land in the face of the mountain of evidence to the contrary, in the face of actual expulsions, and in the face of a Israeli refusal to simply let people go home, is the height of denial.
To blame the victims, to engage in collective punishment t and blame, that is a filthy game.
I don’t remember recommending you read Karsh. Oh well.
Here is the link to the other story that I tried to send you:
Acknowledging mistakes, even crimes, is a strength, not a weakness.