Coca-Cola revealed the corrupt Israeli tax collectors
The United States was very careful not to criticize Israel's Gaza policy.But when Coca-Cola had trouble beating the United States back and uncovered extensive corruption among Israeli customs officials and border guards.
Poverty increased in Gaza, food stocks were being depleted and unemployment went straight into the air among the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in 2006.But when the Israelis prevented the Coca Coca and cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, had even the Americans enough.
Wikileaks documents from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv as Aftenposten has gained access to, reveals how Coca-Cola and several U.S. manufacturers rolled out a major corruption scandal in Israeli aviation authorities IAA.IAA was responsible for conducting the largest border crossing in Gaza in Karni.
Read embassy documents relating to this matter to the right of the article.Read all embassy documents we have published on this site .
Business People had to pay $ 2,500 for a guarantee that their goods to cross - the official Israeli government claimed that the price was 80-90 dollars.As a result, the price of transporting goods into Gaza from the West Bank or Israel, more than quadrupled.
"The cost to get a guarantee that the cargo was crossing to Gaza on a special day rose sharply one one period of closure, while the price went down if the terminal was open for long periods of time," complained Coca-Cola, according to a confidential memo from the U.S. embassy 14June 2006.
Coca-Cola distributor could reveal that "he was asked to pay as much as 2,889 to $ 3,333 per truck loads."
Company AmCit Westinghouse notified the embassy that they had to pay up to $ 6,200 per truck loads.Caterpillar was told that the company had to pay $ 2667 for two small generators across the border, which they refused.
The queue is a joke, because everyone knows that the only loads that move has paid bribes long before the trucks stand in the queue Secret diplomatic notes
First in the queue
Wikileaks notes that are stamped "secret" of the U.S. Embassy, gives a unique insight into how the corruption happened.
"What do you get to to pay $ 3,000 to move the load?", Asked the U.S. embassy.
"For the price get your truck lift for first place in the queue or a place close to the" Israeli queue ", queue is moving," said the furious Coca-Cola distributor.He noted that there were usually two to three queues reserved for Israeli companies, which were much faster.
"The queue is a joke, because everyone knows that the only loads that move has paid bribes long before the trucks stand in the queue."
The cracked for Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola tried to avoid the "unreasonable" bribes, using the company's warehouse in Beer Sheva in Israel and get them to send goods to Gaza.The Israeli military, however, put his foot down and said it was illegal.Then it cracked for Coca-Cola - which went to the U.S. Embassy.
The U.S. Embassy turned into a long list of other U.S. companies that complained to the Israeli corruption, in addition to Coca-Cola:
Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, the equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Westinghouse, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Aramex and Dell computers also reported "widespread corruption at Karni."They raged that this "weakened their ability to operate stores."
Discussions with the Israeli government only leads to temporary improvements for a day or two Secret diplomatic notes
No money, no Coke
The companies refused to pay bribes, found that the goods did not come into Gaza.
At the end of May, 34 shipments of American goods around.$ 1,900,000 expected in up to four months to get into Gaza because the Americans refused to pay the corrupt Israeli border guards.
"Business men have criticized the fact that they never get an answer when they call to arrange a date and time to cross the border, and that their discussions with the Israeli government only leads to temporary improvements for a day or two."
No bribe, no transition
The companies also pointed out that security problems and frequent closures of the border itself has reduced imports to Gaza, but said that "these factors alone do not explain why the trucks of U.S. imports will have to wait as much as four months to get into Gaza."
The border crossing at Karni was repeatedly arrived in the Israeli media because of accusations of corruption.Israeli prison authorities in 2004, five employees suspected of corruption, but denied ever going into detail of what had happened.
"The case is under investigation, we can not discuss details," said Israeli aviation authorities told the newspaper Haraartz then.Embassy documents Aftenposten has gained access to show that the corruption continued.
The documents show that the U.S. was generally very reluctant to criticize Israel.But Coca-Cola case was an exception.May 26, 2006 the American companies took the case "loud" with the Israeli border authorities at Karni, "says the embassy.
The Israelis refused to comment on bribes, but suggested instead that the U.S. could push the Palestinian Authority to open another border post.If the U.S. was so unhappy, said the officials, they could instead finance more conveyor belts at the border station.Then it cracked for Coca-Cola.
The one billion U.S. group and one of the world's largest companies went to the U.S. government with all the corruption case.
"An official at a high level at the terminal controls the bribery ring," pointed out Coca-Cola.Just below him was an Arab Israeli, two officers from the Israeli army and an Israeli civilian, all of which had been meeting with Coca-Cola and demanded bribes.
In addition, the bribes collected by intermediaries in various logistics companies with close ties to management at the Karni terminal.
Israel broke the agreement
The U.S. embassy concluded that Israel broke the AMA agreement was signed with the Palestinian Authority on transport and access between Gaza and the West Bank in November 2005.
"Considering Israel's obligations in the AMA agreement constitutes the deeply problematic procedures on accusations of endemic corruption at the Karni terminal, a serious impediment to trade," concluded the U.S. embassy, who chose to take the matter up at the ministerial level in Israel.
Karni was the main access road to Gaza until 2007, but was often closed for shorter or longer periods.From June 2007, the border station closed.
The justification from the Israeli side was the danger of attacks, snipers and kidnapping, and that Hamas did not want to cooperate with Israel on border station.
According to the United Nations contributed problems of Gaza's border crossings to worsening conditions in Gaza significantly in terms of increased unemployment, poverty and social problems.