Israeli beauty brand Ahava has opened a new factory on the Israeli side of the 1967 Green Line.
The announcement comes after years of protests and a long-standing boycott that saw Ahava close its London store in 2011 and withdraw from the UK market in 2014. Last year, the firm confirmed that it was considering moving its factory from Mitzpe Shalem – a manufacturing base on the West Bank.
In November last year the European Union ruled that products manufactured in settlement zones must be labeled as such and a number of companies have already moved their bases.
Ahava has now confirmed that it has opened an additional plant at Kibbutz Ein Gedi. A spokesperson from the brand told Haaretz: “In light of expanding production needs due the success in marketing Ahava products around the world and expected changes in cosmetics product manufacturing standards in certain Western countries, Ahava will establish an additional plant at Kibbutz Ein Gedi.”
Ahava has not made it clear whether the old manufacturing base, which is located in an area that many view as belonging to Palestine, will now close. Last year the Ahava brand announced a planned purchase by Chinese conglomerate Fosun. The deal has not yet completed but is expected to worth around $76.3m.
The brand has been a target for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel for many years. Campaign Group Stolen Beauty has been organising protests against Ahava since 2009. But while the group welcomed the move, it maintained that its work is not yet finished.
In a statement shared on its website, Stolen Beauty said: “We will continue pressuring Ahava until the West Bank factor is fully closed. It also remains to be seen whether Ahava, under 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.”