A US poultry company has signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to cut the lease of a poultry farm to Israeli expatriates and stop them from taking over the land.
The agreement between US poultry giant Tyson Foods and the Palestinian Development Authority (PDA) means that expatriate workers from the US and Israel will no longer have to apply for a franchise agreement in the Palestinian territories, according to a statement by the US company.
Tyson Foods said that in the past two years, Tyson has reduced the number of its US employees working in the PA and in the occupied West Bank to just 5 percent of its total workforce, which is less than half of the total number of US employees in the West Bank.
“Tyson has been working with the PDA to reduce the footprint of its employees in East Jerusalem and the West Jerusalem Hills, and the agreement we announced today will ensure the long-term viability of our businesses,” Tyson Foods CEO Dan Magner said in the statement.
He added that the agreement “provides Tyson with an additional avenue to help Palestinian employees achieve the same opportunities as our American counterparts”.
The agreement comes after the US State Department and the US Department of Justice announced on January 19 that the US would withhold all federal funds from the Palestinian-run Palestinian Authority until the PA terminated the Israeli-Palestinian franchise agreement, which the US believes is unconstitutional.
The US Justice Department has been trying to persuade the PA to terminate the agreement since February, after a judge ruled that the Palestinian leadership has no legal basis to renew the franchise agreement with Tyson, the US government said in a statement.
“We have taken the long view in our approach to this matter, which includes the United States not waiving our right to withhold funds if there is a serious and imminent threat to the security of the United Nations,” Magner added.
Tanzania and South Africa have signed similar agreements with the PA.
Tazim, the largest chicken processor in the world, has a branch in the PDS and has more than 300,000 employees.
In 2012, it bought an Israeli poultry processing plant, the Hachon factory, and expanded the facility in a move that will eventually increase the size of the operation to over 1,000 workers.
The company has been a major recipient of US aid, which it has used to increase production and feed its animals.
Tazim also operates several chicken feedlots and feed-stamps.