Rami Shaath, founding member of BDS Egypt, said that pressure exerted by the movement had led to the French Orange telecommunications corporation to take steps to cease its operations in Israel. Speaking on Masr Al-Arabia on July 15, Shaath said that the BDS movement in Egypt had demanded that the France-based Orange S.A. telecommunications company withdraw from Israel, warning that the company would suffer losses in the billions. Shaath said that even though the French government and Orange apologized to Netanyahu "under pressure," but that by then steps had already been taken for the company to leave Israel.
Following are excerpts
Rami Shaath: The first issue we dealt with was that of the Orange company. Its branch in Egypt was called Mobinil, and then it officially became Orange. We started the way. We held a press conference, in which we presented a comprehensive report about the presence of Orange in Israel, about its ties with the Zionist entity, and about its role in supporting the 2012 and 2014 wars on Gaza. This company provided instruments to improve reception for soldiers on the border with Gaza. It organized the entertainment events for the soldiers, and gave them five minutes to call their families. Go kill the Palestinian people, and we'll organize entertainment for you. We asked our people to boycott them.
Orange and Mobinil, its branch in Egypt, began to negotiate with us, or at least expressed willingness to negotiate. Our negotiating (terms) were clear: Leave Israel, cancel your criminal and oppressive contracts toward the Palestinian people, stop supporting murder and benefitting from it, and then we will welcome you in Egypt and elsewhere. If you do not do this, we will intensify the campaign in Egypt, and soon there will be campaigns in South Africa, Morocco, and Jordan, and you will be receiving blows everywhere in order to force you to leave Israel. You can leave Israel in tranquility, or you can leave it after suffering losses in the billions.
They said: 'Fine, but we have contracts, and we will lose money if we cancel them right away. What do you want us to do?' We said: 'You expect us to tell you what to do?' I wrote them a statement that read: 'We, at Orange, condemn what Orange Israel is doing, and we consider it to be a crime against the Palestinian people, a violation of international law. We will discuss how to leave Israel in accordance with the law.' We told them that if they said that, we would reduce the pressure, until they effected their departure from Israel.
Indeed, they accepted this suggestion. The CEO of Orange in France held a press conference, and said things to this effect. In Israel, they went berserk. Netanyahu began to curse Orange and our campaign, and so did Tzizip Livni and their representative from the U.N. France had to intervene because Orange is a French company. They exerted pressure on Orange to apologize to Israel, for the things that the CEO said because of the Egyptian campaign. The French government and Orange indeed apologized to Netanyahu under pressure, but by then, the steps had already been taken for the company to leave Israel.