Fire at Hebron Factory Prompts PA Mayor to seek Israeli Help

Hebron is the PA's most industrialized city and its many factories export to Israel.

3.3.24, 19:51
A fire broke out at the Royal plastic factory in Hebron on February 27, 2024. Tayseer Abu Sneineh, the mayor of the Palestinian Authority H1 side of Hebron called upon Israel to send firefighters to help extinguish the blaze. "The fire is larger than the existing capabilities in the country, and requires capabilities that are only available at the disposal of the occupation," he was quoted by Daily Express.

Over 15 civil defense teams, with a total of 120 firefighters controlled the blaze, media reported, noting there was a large amount of flammable material at the facility including pipes, tubing and water tanks. Plastic chairs and household items are some of the over 15,000 products they manufacture. 

Royal Industrial Trading Co. employs over 700 people. Their main markets are the PA and Israel. They also export to over 20 countries around the world. They have an 88 thousand square meter facility in Hebron with over 25 departments of administrators, engineers, and technicians, according to their website.

A profile of the company from the Excellence Center in Palestine states that Royal Plastic was founded by 1993 by a businessman named Al-Zughair (alternative spellings: Al-Zagheer, Zghier) who “immigrated to Palestine from Jordan and was running a hotel in Bethlehem.” After he passed away, his sons, who had spent 10 years in the United States, took over the company and built it into one of the largest in the city.

Mayor Abu Sneineh was convicted of participating in the 1980 Beit Hadassah ambush terrorist attack which took the lives of six people and injured dozens. He was released in a prisoner exchange deal and rose in the ranks of local politics, using his terrorist credentials as part of his campaign.

Hebron is the most industrialized and wealthiest city in the PA and according for at least 40% of the PA economy with over 17,000 factories and workshops.

In 2021 Kan 11 news profiled several large Hebron companies that do brisk business with Israel including ZmZm plastic, established in 1973 by Khalil AlRahman which has been suppling Israel with plastic bags for 50 years. They produce 50 tons every day with 75% going to Israel.

Al-Jebrini dairy company in Hebron exports two trucks daily, one to Arab shops in Jerusalem, and one to Gaza. The cheese products sent to Jerusalem have Hebrew and Arabic labels and the ones sent to Gaza have Arabic labels. They are wary of exporting to other Israeli cities so that they don’t get boycotted by Arab nationalists.

“We, as two close economies, would benefit from complementing each other,” said the owner. “Both sides have an interest in raising individual income in the area.”

Achmad Amaleh, a Hebron entrepreneur and businessman said, “we do have national aspirations that we would like to advance... but on the other hand we have economic aspirations too. And one does not exclude the other.”
Hamas is popular in Hebron and has often won city council elections there.

In 1997, Hebron was divided into H1, under PA jurisdiction comprising 80% of the city, and H2 under Israeli jurisdiction comprising 20% of the city. Of that 20% only the Jewish neighborhoods are accessible to Israeli civilians, meaning only 3% of Hebron is accessible to Jewish-Israelis on a regular basis.
* Visiting Royal Industrial Trading in Hebron - Excellence Center of Palestine
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