Soft Drink Fizz Goes Flat in Gaza

Pepsi's bottler can't get CO2 because of Israel's blockade. Among workers' dwindling job options: Hamas

David Blumenfeld for TIME

Ammar Yazji stands in front of empty Pepsi and 7-Up bottles in his factory in Gaza.

Every closed factory has its own kind of unbearable silence. The Yazegi Group's soft-drink plant in Gaza, with its maze of metal tubes and conveyor belts all switched off, has the hush of a futuristic mausoleum. Marketing manager Ammar Yazegi pauses beside empty 7Up bottles stacked in perfect emerald-green cubes up to the rafters and says, "I miss the music of the machines and workers. It's a beautiful noise. This silence drives me crazy."

His family misses another sound: the ka-ching! of money. For years the Yazegi Group had a captive market of 1.48 million Palestinians living in the narrow coastal...

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