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A campaign to boycott McDonalds. (Photo: Palestine Information Center)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Days after the October 7 resistance operation, the Israeli franchise of McDonald’s provoked outrage after donating free meals to thousands of Israeli soldiers.

McDonald’s, one of the companies hit by boycotts following the October 7 resistance operation, will buy all of its 225 franchise restaurants in Israel.

In a statement on Thursday, the company announced that an agreement had been reached with Omri Padan, the CEO and Owner of Alonyal Limited, to sell Alonyal to the McDonald’s Corporation.

Padan said that for more than 30 years, he was “proud to bring the Golden Arches to Israel and serve our communities. We’ve grown the brand to be the leading and most successful restaurant chain in Israel,” with over 5,000 employees.

Soldiers’ Free Meals

Days after the October 7 resistance operation, the US fast-food giant faced the ire of Palestine supporters not just in the Middle East region, but globally, after Alonyal donated free meals to thousands of Israeli soldiers.

With most McDonald’s outlets worldwide locally owned, franchises in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere distanced themselves from their Israeli counterpart.

Some even collectively pledged more than $3 million to support Palestinians in Gaza, according to an Al Jazeera report.

In January, the company’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said the company was experiencing a “meaningful business impact due to the war and associated misinformation” in the Middle East.

He said: “In every country where we operate, including in Muslim countries, McDonald’s is proudly represented by local owner operators.”

But that has not deterred a call for a boycott of the fast food company.

Plummeting Revenue

Kempczinski had also reportedly said that “So long as this conflict, this war, is going on… we’re not expecting to see any significant improvement in this.”

Reports say that sales growth for the McDonald’s division for the Middle East, China and India during October-December was only 0.7 percent. This was far below market expectations of 5.5 percent.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement said in a statement in February, that “The actions of a McDonald’s franchisee cannot be isolated from the company’s worldwide operations.”

“McDonald’s Corporation, Headquartered in Chicago, US, owns the McDonald’s brand and is responsible for ensuring that its franchisee is not involved in conduct that damages McDonald’s reputation, including any association of the brand with grave human rights violations,” the statement added. “Putting it simply, associating the McDonald’s brand with the Israeli army and its crimes against the Palestinian people cannot go without consequences for the company!”

Starbucks is another company that saw a “significant impact on traffic and sales” in the Middle East, CEO Laxman Narasimhan said in February.

The company also faced backlash in the US when it sued Workers United following a pro-Palestinian message that the union posted on X, stating “Solidarity with Palestine!”

Over 33,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 33,091 Palestinians have been killed, and 75,750 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in the enclave.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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