Gaza Loses Fizz in Face of CO2 Blockade

Attempt to bottle up economy idles soft drink plant
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2007 3:25 PM CST

(Newser) – The Israeli and international blockade of Gaza means Ammar Yagezi, a third-generation soft drink bottler, has been unable to supply Palestinians with Pepsi and 7Up. Tel Aviv says the freeze on imports of cement, fertilizer and—in this case—CO2 is for “security reasons,” but Time says the Strip is uncarbonated because Israel hopes a shuttered Gazan marketplace will catalyze residents to throw out the Hamas leadership.

“You can’t make bombs or rockets out of this stuff,” the angry bottler said of carbon dioxide. “They’re trying to kill off Gaza’s economy.” Indeed 90% of factories and 85,000 workers are idle. But the blockade may be driving moderates into the arms of Hamas, which is flush with food and money—and maybe even a cold beverage—for willing militants.