Woolies insists it has not taken any position on Israel-Palestine conflict.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Woolworths South Africa (Woolies) has decided to remove a sole Israeli product from its shelves, after threats to boycott the retailer intensified.
In a statement released on Friday, Woolworths set the record straight.
The company says it decided to suspend the sale of the only product it had on its shelves that is imported from Israel in order to protect the safety of employees and customers.
It insists it has not taken any position on the matter, despite some commending them and claiming their decision means they are pro-Palestine or anti-Israel.
The retailer says in a world of misinformation and suffering, and with innocent people being killed, it cannot add fuel to the fire.
"Many of us have been deeply affected in various ways by the atrocities and deaths of innocent people we are witnessing on our screens. Intolerance is on the rise and we‚ as an organisation‚ cannot and will not add fuel to the fire and will continue to seek ways to bring people together.
Africa4Palestine released a statement on Thursday evening, welcoming the decision of Woolworths not to stock Israeli products.
The NGO stated, "In a formal letter received by Africa4Palestine, the CEO of Woolworths, Roy Bagattini, has confirmed that Woolworths is no longer stocking Israeli products".
He stated that there is currently not one single product on their shelves from Israel: "We do not have any products on our shelves that are for sale that have been imported from Israel. Not stocking products from Israel aligns with the principles of ethical consumerism," the NGO said.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has welcomed the decision by Woolworths South Africa to remove the Israeli product from its shelves across the country.
The EFF maintains that it remains forthright and committed to the cause of Palestinian people.
In Parliament on Thursday, parties were split in the middle when they debated the EFF-sponsored motion on whether South Africa should close the Israel embassy and cut diplomatic ties with the country.