After a 2-year long campaign that involved bi-weekly protests, consumer education and petitions challenging the Ahava company’s illegal theft of Palestinian land and resources, British activists are now claiming credit for the decision by Ahava’s flagship store in London to shut its doors.The Dead Sea Salts and other cosmetics sold by the Ahava company are produced in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, and the Israeli control of the Dead Sea and its resources are in violation of a decades-old ‘Dead Sea Agreement’ between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Although Ahava representatives gave no comment on the matter, a spokesperson for the property owner said that they had decided not to renew Ahava’s lease. The property is located in the prestigious Covent Garden area of London, where thousands of tourists and shoppers pass through every day.
Colin George, who owns a neighboring clothing store, considered the protesters a nuisance and was one of several neighboring properties which complained to the property owner. He told the British Morning Star newspaper, “Protesters are just going to follow them around. Maybe they should be an online business instead.”
Although Ahava executives claim that the mud and salt used for its cosmetic products come from the “Israeli part of the Dead Sea” and are in accordance with the Dead Sea Agreement, in fact the Israeli government has blockaded the entire Dead Sea since 2000, and it remains inaccessible to Palestinians.
The Ahava boycott campaign claims that, “The mud that is used in the Ahava products is taken from a site that is next to the settlement of Kalia. This ‘pillage” or ‘plunder’ is illegal under international humanitarian law, specifically under Articles 23, 53 and 55 of the Hague Regulations; Articles 51 and 53 of the 4th Geneva Conventions; and Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.”