While Amazon strongly rejects the accusations, this is not the first time that the e-commerce company has been linked to Israel.
Rabat – Amazon, the world’s largest ecommerce platform, has been accused of legitimizing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories following a free shipping campaign to Israel and Israeli settlements in territories the UN considers as illegaly occupied.
In a recent article headlined “Amazon accused of bias in West Bank settlements,” the Financial Times found that the free shipping campaign has been in action since November of last year, weeks after Amazon launched its operations for the Israeli market.
Within the terms of the free shipment campaign, customers living in Israel and Israeli settlements have been receiving free of charge deliveries. However, for customeers who register “Palestinian Territories” when placing orders, shipping costs as much as $24, according to the Financial Times.
The discrepancy has fueled suggestions that the e-commerce giant is legitimizing Israeli occupation, or at the very least appearing to pick its side in a complex, decades-long geopolitical issue.
In a statement to Middle East Eye, Granate Kim, communications director for Jewish Voice for Peace, said, “I’m outraged yet unsurprised to hear that Amazon is discriminating against Palestinians like this.
“Amazon is essentially incentivizing Palestinians to choose ‘Israel’ as their address to get a free shipping deal. Corporations like Amazon need to be held accountable for such abhorrent practices and we’re talking with partners now to see how to do that.”
In response, Amazon insists that that there is nothing deliberately discriminatory about the campaign and that the price tag on shipments to Palestinian territoties is purely a “logistical issue” due to the customs and additional inspections goods go through at the Israeli-controled border.
“In November, we launched a free shipping promotion for customers within Israel,” Amazon spokesperson Nick Caplin told Middle East Eye. “This does not include the Palestinian Territories, as we cannot guarantee the high standard of delivery experience that Amazon customers expect.”
The news comes days after the UN published a list of 112 companies believed to “to have been involved in activities related to settlements,” as the BBC reported. The companies included Airbnb, Booking.com, Motorola, TripAdvisor, and Expedia Group. Amazon is not on the UN list.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Amazon has been linked to Israel and settlement activities.
In the wake of Amazon’s official entry to the Israeli market late last year, an article in pro-Palestinian cause website docummented the company’s ties to Isarel even before the official launch of its deleveries to Israeli customers.
“Though Amazon Israel was launched barely two weeks ago, Amazon’s business operations with Israel go back much further. As early as 2015, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) began servicing Amazon’s fleet of cargo planes, and now services 80% of Amazon’s aircraft,” the article pointed out.
It then pointed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezzos’s pro-Israel “political stance” as the main reason for the company’s perceived pro-Israel bias.