Israeli PM Bennett to Unilever CEO: Pulling Ben & Jerry's from West Bank shops will have 'severe consequences'

By FOX Business
Posted on 07/20/21 | News Source: FOX Business

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to Unilever CEO Alan Jope after the company's subsidiary Ben & Jerry's announced that it will no longer sell its products in the West Bank due to the presence of Jewish settlements in the territory.

The ice cream brand announced Monday that it is ending its license agreement with its Israeli manufacturer and distributor, and that the ice cream will no longer be available in "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Bennett notified Jope that Israel will not let this go without a response.

"Prime Minister Bennett emphasized that from the perspective of the State of Israel, this is an action that has severe consequences, including legal, and it will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens," Bennett's official Twitter account tweeted Tuesday morning.

Bennett's office said the prime minister told Jope that Israel views the decision with "utmost gravity" and that Unilever, as Ben & Jerry's parent company, "has taken a clearly anti-Israel step."

Ben & Jerry's issued a statement Monday declaring that "it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," although it will remain in Israel.

Israel has had a presence in the West Bank since taking the land from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. An agreement between Israel and Palestinians in 1995, two years after the Oslo Accords established the Palestinian Authority, divided the territory into three regions: Area A, which is controlled and governed by the Palestinian Authority; Area B, in which Israel has legal jurisdiction over Jews, the PA has legal jurisdiction over Arabs, and Israel has security jurisdiction over all; and Area C, which Israel controls entirely. Multiple offers from Israel to withdraw from nearly all of the territory to establish a Palestinian state have been rejected.