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Scarlett Johansson has decided to quit as an ambassador for Oxfam amid a row over her support for SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates in the occupied West Bank.

A spokesman for Scarlett Johansson said she had a “fundamental difference of opinion” with the humanitarian group.

Scarlett Johansson will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream, which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim.

Oxfam opposes trade from settlements, which are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

About 500,000 Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

A statement from Scarlett Johansson’s spokesman published on Wednesday announced that the Hollywood star had “respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years”, according to the Associated Press.

Scarlett Johansson will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim 640x427 photo

Scarlett Johansson will remain a brand ambassador for SodaStream, which has a factory in the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim

“She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam,” it added.

On Thursday, Oxfam issued a statement saying it had accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down and was grateful for her many contributions.

“While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador,” it added.

“Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”

Scarlett Johansson signed up to be a global brand ambassador with SodaStream International Ltd earlier this month, and is due to appear in an advertisement for the firm during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Her statement added: “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

SodaStream, which makes products that allow people to produce carbonated soft drinks at home, operates one of the hundreds of factories constructed in some 20 Israeli-run industrial zones in the West Bank.

A rare snowstorm has hit Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank, choking off the city and stranding hundreds in vehicles on impassable roads.

Israeli authorities said at least 20 inches of snow had fallen since Thursday and more was forecast.

A rare snowstorm has hit Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank 640x378 photo

A rare snowstorm has hit Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank

“In my 54 years I don’t remember a sight like this, such an amount I cannot recall,” said Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem.

The Israeli military helped police rescue hundreds of people stranded in vehicles on highways near the city.

President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning after at least eight Palestinian children have been killed in a collision between a school bus and an Israeli lorry on a road in the West Bank.

The school bus was carrying children as young as five or six on their way to Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem.

The vehicle overturned on impact and burst into flames. More than 30 children were injured, and there are fears the death toll may rise.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his sorrow and offered assistance.

The bus is believed to have been carrying up to 50 children at the time of the crash, which happened on a busy road junction.

At least one report said a teacher had also been killed.

At least eight Palestinian children have been killed in a collision between a school bus and an Israeli lorry on a road in the West Bank photo

At least eight Palestinian children have been killed in a collision between a school bus and an Israeli lorry on a road in the West Bank


In a broadcast, President Mahmoud Abbas described the accident as a horrific national disaster and said all flags would fly at half-mast.

“The toll so far shows that more than 10 children have died and scores of injured are receiving treatment in various medical centres in the West Bank,” he said.

The higher figure of the number of dead has not been confirmed.

The children were apparently travelling from their school in the West Bank village of Anata when the two vehicles collided, head-on, according to reports.

The lorry driver, an Israeli-Arab, was injured.

Dr. Ahmad Bitawi, director of Ramallah Hospital, said five children and a teacher had been pronounced dead at the hospital, while a further 54 people injured in the crash were treated there, Reuters news agency reported.

Some of the survivors were also taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital.

“It is an ugly, unbelievable, terrible accident; it shakes the feelings of the whole world because it includes babies,” Adham Al-Hindin, uncle of two injured children, told Reuters.

The road conditions in the area were “pretty treacherous” following heavy rain overnight and the accident had happened during morning rush hour.

Shalom Galil – an Israeli paramedic at the scene – also said the adverse weather conditions appeared to have been a factor.

He said the steep road where the crash happened had been affected by oil. “We assume that either the bus or the truck slipped and crashed into each other.”

Shalom Galil said Israeli and Palestinian emergency services had worked closely together at the scene.

“Palestinian firefighters were involved. As far as I could see, there was full co-operation between the firefighters of Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Palestinian firefighters.”

At least five Palestinian children have been killed and other 30 have been injured after a school bus has collided with a truck on a road in the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

The collision happened on “a very steep and slippery road” near Jerusalem, according to Reuters.

An Israeli police spokesperson told AFP that an Israeli truck hit a Palestinian bus. The bus overturned and caught fire.

More than 30 children have been injured in the crash, which was “horrific,” according to the police spokesperson.

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