McDonald's Israel has refused an offer to open a branch of its restaurant chain in a mall slated to be built in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, according to a report in the Calcalist newspaper.
Tzahi Nahmias, the realtor who is marketing the mall's commercial space, told the paper that McDonald's refused to open a branch because Ariel is located beyond the Green Line.
McDonald's confirmed that it did not intend to open in Ariel and said that its refusal to operate in the West Bank "had always been the restaurant chain's policy," according to the report.
Nahmias said that there were other companies besides McDonald's, that he refused to name, that expressed concerns that opening in the mall would negatively impact their international business.
Rami Levy, Israeli supermarket magnate and one of the entrepreneurs behind the Ariel mall, did not refer specifically to McDonald's decision but he did tell the paper that businesses that refuse to open in the West Bank also harm the Arab population there.
"I do not accept that companies make business decisions that are informed by political considerations. The mall in Ariel is expected to employ Arab and Jewish workers from the area and to provide services for these populations" Levy said.
"This boycott is superfluous, and it harms the Arab population that it is supposedly trying to protect," he added.
Israeli artists as well as academics have boycotted the city because of its location beyond the Green Line.
In March, during US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel students from Ariel University were not invited to a speech that he gave in Jerusalem to Israeli university students.
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