Fast-food chain McDonald's has rebuffed an offer to open a branch in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, citing its location beyond the Green Line as the reason.
Tzahi Nahmias, owner of the Mega Or shopping mall which offered to host the Golden Arches, said that other companies had expressed concerns over opening branches in Ariel because of its location.
"The mediators told us that branches operating abroad and other companies holding rights in Israel for international brand names are worried about the potential negative response toward their businesses [from consumers] abroad if they open shops in the mall," Nahmias told Calcalist newspaper.
McDonald's said that its refusal to operate in the West Bank "had always been the restaurant chain's policy".
McDonald's is the largest chain in Israel with over 170 branches, of which about 40 are kosher, according to the Israel Hayom website. The company's Israeli owner and general manager Omri Padan is a former soldier in the IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal unit and a founder of the Peace Now organisation.
Padan said in an interview published in Haaretz in 1998 that "McDonald's-Israel neither did nor will open a branch at any Israeli settlement beyond the Green Line [the border between Israel and the West Bank, agreed in 1967].
"Already when I was the general manager of Kitan Textiles I told the board I would resign immediately if they move to open a plant [in] the West Bank. I have the privilege of not needing to compromise on my principles."