Israeli cosmetics company Ahava is to relocate its manufacturing plant from the West Bank to inside the pre-1967 lines.
In recent years, the firm has been targeted by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, due to the location of its factory in the illegal settlement of Mitzpeh Shalem.
According to reports, the new site, like the current one, will be located on the Dead Sea shore, but no longer in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
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An Ahava statement said the move was designed to “establish an additional plant”, in response to “expanding production needs.” Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz noted the statement “did not explicitly confirm” that the West Bank settlement plan will close, “but that is understood to be the case.”
Yedioth Ahronoth, which reported on the move under the headline ‘Ahava moving factory out of West Bank following BDS pressure’, said that “the move will held mitigate the difficulties the company experienced because of the European boycott of goods produced in the West Bank.”
In 2011, Ahava shut its flagship London store in Covent Garden, following months of protests by Palestine solidarity groups, part of a seven-year long international campaign targeting the company.
Responding to the news, activist group CODEPINK Women for Peace highlighted “the dedicated work of an international coalition of human rights activists—from the U.S. to the U.K., from the Netherlands to South Africa, from Palestine and Israel to France—who have been organizing protests against Ahava’s violations of international law since 2009.”
The group said that activists will “continue pressuring Ahava until the West Bank factory is fully closed”, adding “that It also remains to be seen whether Ahava, under the new ownership of the Chinese conglomerate Fosun, will cease pillaging mud from the Dead Sea’s occupied shores in the Israeli settlement of Kalya, as has been their practice to date.”
Ahava’s decision to leave the West Bank follows on from similar moves by SodaStream, who relocated from a West Bank settlement to the Negev, as well as the Unilever-owned Beigel Beigel, Barkan winemaker, and the Swedish-owned Mul-T-Lock lock manufacturer.