Telecoms giant Orange decides to leave Israel sparking diplomatic row

At a press conference in Cairo Mr Richard said the French telecoms company wanted to quit Israel and leave as soon as possible. Orange which is 25% owned by the French State has been under increasing pressure from the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement’ (BDS Movement), which is a global group  that puts  economical and political pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land and give equal rights to Palestinian Arabs.

Mr Richard said at the press conference that operating in Israel was a “sensitive issue” as Orange operate in other Middle Eastern countries and “We want to be one of the trustful partners off all Arab Countries”. There has been huge pressure by campaigners in France put on Orange to end Israeli operations.

Orange has licensed its name in Israel to Partner Communication Company which is an Israeli firm owned by Saban Capital Group, since 1998. Partner have reportedly built 100 telecoms towers on Israeli settlements  and operate 4 mobile phone shops in Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land occupied since 1967.

The row deepened on Thursday as Israel’s Minister of Culture Miri Regev demanded that the French President Francois Hollande fires Stephane Richards. She also called on Jewish Customers of Orange in France and around the world to stop doing business with Orange and change carriers

BDS Movement pressure has also been building up in Egypt in recent days where protesters have called for a boycott of Mobinil, which is 99% Orange, owned and has 33 million customers.                     

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