McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is refusing to open a branch of their fast-food store in the Israeli settlement Ariel in the West Bank leading settler organizations to call for an immediate boycott of McDonald’s restaurants, the Guardian reports. The large fast-food chain has 180 stores in Israel, but did not offer to open up a store in Ariel, which is located deep inside the West Bank. The new store would have been located in a shopping mall currently under construction.
The decision to not open up a store in the West Bank stems from a long-standing policy that McDonald’s holds, despite the recent criticism from settler organizations in the West Bank. The policy calls for McDonald’s to not operate across the pre-1967 green line according to the policy of owner Dr. Omri Padan, who is a founding member of Peace Now — an anti-settlement organization.
West Bank settlers have not taken the news lightly. In a statement to the Jerusalem Post, Yigal Delmonti of the Yesha Council said, “McDonald’s has turned from a business into an organisation with an anti-Israeli political agenda,” and called for citizens in Israel to think about the politics before entering any McDonald’s establishments. The mayor of Ariel, Eliyahu Shaviro, held similar feelings. ”The decision by McDonald’s not to open a branch in the Ariel mall is an unfortunate decision that discriminates against the residents of the city,” he said.