Ahava's stolen mud from the occupied Palestinian territories

June 20, 2012: A new report issued this month, researchers at Who Profits project have documented that Ahava's Israeli cosmetics company products are manufactured in the Jordan Valley Mitzpe Shalem settlement and exploit the Palestinian natural resources.  

In spite of the company's continuous and strenuous denials, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, a private Israeli cosmetics company whose products are manufactured in a Jordan Valley settlement, is exploiting Palestinian natural resources. In anew report[1] issued this month, researchers at Who Profits (www.whoprofits.org) have documented the illegality under International Law of Ahava's activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.

A formal letter from the Israeli Army's Civil Administration received by Who Profits in response to a Freedom of Information Act request clearly states that Ahava operates a mud excavation site for commercial use in the occupied Dead Sea area[2].

Despite this fact, Ahava's management has continued to deny the company's use of natural resources from the occupied area. In a letter that was sent to cosmetics retailers in 2010, Mr. Ya'akov Ellis, president and CEO of Ahava, wrote: "The mud and minerals used in Ahava's cosmetics products are not excavated in an occupied area.” While it is true that Ahava buys many of its minerals from Dead Sea Works' excavation sites inside the green line, the company excavates mud from occupied shores for use in its products. Who Profits contacted Ahava, asking for the company's response to its findings, but has not received any reply.

Ahava's excavation of mud in the Occupied Territory without permission of the rightful owners – the Palestinian people – and for the benefit of Israel and its settlers, renders it complicit in Israel's violations of international humanitarian law: “pillage”[3], violation of the  duty to administer the capital of the occupied territory as usufruct only[4], permanent alteration of occupied territory[5], property destruction lacking military necessity[6] and the transfer of civilians of the occupier into the territory it occupies[7].

The company, which exports its products to more than 25 countries, labels its goods "Made in Israel” though they are manufactured in the occupied West Bank. Ahava's fraudulent labelling has been investigated in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Currently both South Africa and Denmark have proposed stricter labelling for Israeli settlement goods, including Ahava, so that consumers can make informed choices about supporting Israel's occupation enterprise.

Since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel has been systematically exploiting the resources of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area to a greater extent and more intensively than elsewhere in the West Bank. Palestinian access to the shores of the Dead Sea is severely restricted because of the extensive network of Israeli checkpoints in the Occupied Territories[8].

For more information please contact:
Eness - 972545919144
Yara - 972508575777

[1] The full report: http://whoprofits.org/content/ahava-tracking-trade-trail-settlement-products

[2] The original Hebrew version is on file with who profits. See the English translation at: http://bit.ly/Jp72EI

[3] See Art. 47 of the Hague Regulations, Art. 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law Rule 52:http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul_rule52

[4] See Art. 55 of the Hague Regulations.

[5] See Art. 43 of the Hague Regulations.

[6] See Art. 23(g) of the Hague Regulations, Art 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[7] See Art. 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[8] For more information, see: PLO Negotiations Affairs Department Factsheet, The Jordan Valley: A Microcosm of the Israeli Occupation, December 2011; A video report, B'Tselem; Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel's Policy in the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea, May 2011, B'Tselem.




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