updated - July 21, 2019 Sunday EDT
McDonald's in Israel has declined to open up a branch in a new mall in Ariel, a Jewish settlement, as the company has a policy of avoiding conflict zones, the company said.
McDonald's spokesperson Irina Shalmor said chain refused to open up a store in the new mall as McDonald's Israel has a policy of staying out of the occupied territories. The decision was not coordinated with McDonald's headquarters in the U.S., the Jerusalem Post noted.
The spot reserved for McDonald's has not stayed vacant for long with its competitor, Burger Ranch, agreeing to take the location in a new shopping mall in the Samaria city of Ariel.
According to Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro, "McDonald's decision not to be part of the Ariel mall is a miserable decision discriminating against the city's residents. The entire culture and commerce issue should be left out of the political arena.
"Commerce is a bridging factor, which creates good conditions for a system of mutual relations regardless of one's religion, race or gender. The entire boycott issue dies the exact opposite, causing a rift instead of a bridge. Peace will come through cooperation in general and commerce in particular, not through imposing boycotts."
The conflict revolves around the Palestinians wanting the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, as part of their future state. Israel captured those areas, along with the Golan Heights, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians and most of the international community consider Israel's West Bank settlements illegal or illegitimate.
"McDonald's has turned from a business into an organization with an anti- Israeli political agenda," said Yigal Delmonti, deputy director of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, according to the report.
"We expect that Israeli citizens, especially those living in Judea and Samaria, will take this into account before entering the company's franchises."
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