by Shoshana Miskin
Children of laid-off Palestinian 'SodaStream' factory workers initiate petition for government to renew 74 work permits in Israel.
One week after SodaStream laid off its last 74 Palestinian workers after pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, a petition for the government to re-instate permits to work in Israel is gaining momentum.
CEO of SodaStream International, Daniel Birnbaum said, "We proved that we can live and work here in peace, Jews and Palestinians side-by-side, but unfortunately the state prevents this due to a bureaucratic decision. The signatories know that we need to fight for every option to live and work together with our neighbors - we do not have many opportunities like this."
The children of factory workers, set up a Facebook page called "Peace Intifada", lead the campaign requesting the return of Palestinian workers permits.
The petition page reads: "We are the children of employees of SodaStream which worked in co-existence for years. Our parents are proof that one day there could be peace. The Israeli government decided not to extend the (work) visas of 74 Palestinian workers, which resulted in their dismissal".
"We know that more than 120 thousand Palestinians work in Israel every day, so do not think that 74 workers will be the downfall of the economy or threaten national security. We urge the Israeli government to allow the continued employment of workers and to prove to the world that peace is possible. Bibi, even if you give up on peace, we are not ready," read the petition.
"The very fact that Palestinians and Jews worked side by side not only shows the possibility to live together in peace, it also proved that the BDS claim that Israel is an apartheid state is quite false. I ask of (Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu to find a way to let 74 employees go back to work alongside Israelis. Thus, we will continue the unique model of coexistence, and together as one, we will beat the BDS lies," said Birnbaum.
So far, 4153 people signed the petition.
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