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Stealing Palestinian Resources

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Israel spurns rule of law principles in all forms. Al Haq calls exploiting West Bank resources "the war crime of pillage." Its report examines Israeli Dead Sea area operations. 

It's "prohibited from exploiting them in a way that undermines their capital and results in economic benefits for Israeli citizens, including settlers, or for its national economy."

The Dead Sea borders Jordan and Israel to the east and the West Bank to the west. It's in the Jordan Rift Valley. It lies over 400 meters below sea level.

It's 67 km long, 377 meters deep, and 18 km across at its widest point. With 33.7% salinity, it's one of the world's saltiest water bodies.

In 1967, Israel seized control. Jordan previously controlled the area. Oslo granted Israel military and administrative control. Vast land areas became closed military zones. Palestinians are denied entry to land rightfully theirs.

Since 1967, pillage accompanied occupation. Palestinians were dispossessed from their own land and resources. Israel stole and exploited the Dead Sea and surrounding areas by declaring them "State land." No legal basis whatever permits doing so.

Numerous military orders violate international law. It's been twisted, inverted, manipulated, distorted, undermined, and spurned to justify the unjustifiable. 

Israel invents its own version of reality. Orwellian doublespeak defines it. Fundamental occupying power obligations are violated. State authorities and settlers reap benefits. 

At the same time, unsustainable water extraction and mining methods let water levels decrease significantly.

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories was licensed to steal. It mines Dead Sea mud. It's used for company products. Al Haq's General Director, Shawan Jabarin, said:

"The Israeli authorities are denying Palestinians access to their natural resources all across the OPT, but this practice is particularly evident in the occupied Dead Sea area. This also clearly demonstrates how Israel is benefiting economically from the occupation." 

"Given that the settlers in the area and Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories directly profit from the appropriation of the Dead Sea natural resources and from the trade of the products extracted and processed in this region, they should be considered as primary perpetrators of the war crime of pillage."

Consumers have a right to know that Ahava operates illegally. Its products use stolen Palestinian resources. Doing so costs them nearly $150 million annually.

Ahava's based in Mitzpe Shalem settlement. It lies on the Dead Sea's western shore. It's Israel's only company licensed to mine area mud, silt, sand, gravel, and other minerals. 

It operates subsidiaries in America, Britain and Germany. Its products have unique cosmetic qualities. They're used for various skin disorders. Exports provide about 60% of its revenue. The remaining 40% comes from Israel and tourism.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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