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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Israeli-funded Fenix scooters expand to Turkey following controversial Qatar launch


The scooter company continued operations in Qatar despite nationwide outrage over its links to Israel.

Israeli-funded and UAE-based company Fenix has expanded its operations to Turkey after purchasing Turkish scooter company PALM for $5 million, Reuters reported on Monday.

According to the new agency, Fenix was the first Emirati start-up to receive Israeli venture investment backing after the UAE normalised ties with the occupying state of Israel in September last year with the signing of the Abraham Accords.

The company received $3.8 million from Israel-based venture capital firm Maniv Mobility in November.

Fenix also operates in Bahrain, another country that followed the UAE’s footsteps in normalising ties with Israel. However, it is also operating in Qatar and Saudi Arabia—both of which have not established ties with Tel Aviv.

In December, the scooter company announced the launch of its operations in Qatar, with FENIX Co-Founder and CEO Jaideep Dhanoa confirming to Doha News at the time that this was facilitated by Qatar’s Ministry of Transport [MOTC].

Per an investigation conducted by Doha News, Israeli investor Michael Granoff, who also sits on the board of Fenix, previously described Palestinians as “knife wielding terrorists” and called for an embargo on Qatar.

Granoff has also accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and in one tweet claimed Doha “funds ISIS”, referring to the Islamic State militant group.

Both of the aforementioned tweets were shortly deleted after the Doha News investigation was published.

Read also: Israeli-funded Fenix scooters still on Qatar’s streets despite backlash

Since the publishing of the report, neither Granoff nor his company have issued a statement to respond but instead blocked the Doha News Twitter account.

Residents across Qatar have posed questions on why and how a company funded by a known Israeli investor was allowed to expand its operations into the country, especially considering Doha’s firm stance in support of the Palestinian cause.

Earlier this year, local calls for boycott resurfaced during an 11-day Israeli bombardment on Gaza in which at least 256 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children.

As Israel bombarded residential buildings in Gaza, Granoff retweeted an old video of current US President Joe Biden saying, “Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.”

Doha News Investigation: The Israeli company behind some of Qatar’s new scooters and its controversial CEO

During the May crossfire between Hamas and Israel, Palestinians were forced to flee their homes, leaving thousands displaced in just days. While an Egypt and Qatar ceasefire was brokered, Israel continued its human rights abuses and launched new attacks on the already besieged strip.

Responding to a tweet of a social media user expressing concern over bombing schools in Gaza, Granoff said,”This, of course, is made up out of whole cloth.”

Furthermore, Granoff said most of the Palestinians killed during the air strikes on Gaza “were not innocent civilians”, adding that they were “not killed by Israeli action”.

“100%. A terrible tragedy. As with the civilians in Israel that died. Just please understand that most of the 256 were not innocent civilians. And most were not killed by Israeli action, but from rockets misfired, intended for us, by Hamas. Doesn’t make it less tragic,” he said.

He also said in a tweet that four of his children are set to join the army while promoting co-existence on his account.

The Israeli military is notorious for attacking Palestinians, including children, under the pretext of “self defence”.

According to Al Jazeera, citing the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information, Israeli troops killed at least 3,000 Palestinian children over the past 20 years.

Last week, the Israeli army shot dead 12-year-old Mohammed Al-Alami in the occupied West Bank while he was in a car with his father. Before Al-Alami, 17-year-old Mohammed Munir Al-Tamimi was killed by Israeli forces.

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