21 May 2011 | Jordan Valley Solidarity
After years of strenuous denial, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics firm with its main manufacturing plant in an illegal West Bank settlement, is proven by documentary evidence to be in violation of international law through its theft of Palestinian resources. This evidence was recently discovered by Who Profits, a research project of the Israeli Coalition for Peace, which documents corporate activity in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.
Prior to this finding representatives of Ahava repeatedly claimed that the company does not make use of natural resources from the West Bank: “the mud and materials used in Ahava cosmetics products are not excavated in an occupied area. The mud is mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally”. The new findings prove that the company was given a license for excavating minerals in 2004 from the Israeli Civil Administration, which is the representative of the Israeli government in the Occupied West Bank, and that the excavation site on the occupied shores of the Northern Dead Sea is currently active. By making use of mud that is excavated in the occupied area the company is violating international humanitarian law (the laws of occupation), which prohibits the plundering of natural resources from the occupied territory. Merav Amir, Coordinator of Who Profits, said, “Ahava can no longer continue misleading consumers about where they get the mud used in their products. This mud is from the Occupied West Bank and is stolen from the Palestinian people.”
Nancy Kricorian, the manager for CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott (www.stolenbeauty.org), an international campaign against the company’s violations of international law, said, “Ahava’s CEO has been circulating a letter to retailers that we thought was filled with lies, and now Who Profits has provided us with the evidence to prove it.”
The company is still reeling from the public relations setback of an explosive new report issued on May 5th by B’tselem, a leading Israeli human rights group, which calls Ahava out by name as an occupation profiteer. Ahava representatives have yet to respond to B’tselem’s report, and the company’s reputation is now further tarnished by this just discovered documentary proof of its violations of international law.