24 April 2013
Open Shuhada Street Welcomes Wellness Warehouse’s Decision to Re-Label Ahava Products – NOW Stop Supporting Israeli Apartheid and Boycott Illegal Israeli Settlement Goods!
Open Shuhada Street welcomes the decision by Wellness Warehouse to remove all Ahava cosmetics products from its shelves for re-labelling. According to General Notice 380 of 2013, issued by the Department of Trade and Industry on 5 April (Government Gazette No. 36364, vol. 574), it is now illegal for all Israeli settlement products to be labelled as ‘made in Israel’.
This decision to comply with the Notice affirms the power of the Notice. Israel reacted angrily to the Notice since its finalisation insinuating that South Africa is discriminating against Israel unfairly. However, no country recognizes the Occupied Palestinian Territories as legal Israeli territory.
We call on companies such as Wellness Warehouse to remove illegal settlement products such as Ahava cosmetics from its shelves until the products’ legal status has been clarified by the South African government.
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and products produced in the settlements are also illegal. Earlier this month, 13 European Union member states urged the EU Foreign Minister, Catherine Ashton, to formulate rules regarding the labelling of settlement products exported to the EU.
Now that the South African government has acknowledged that these products are not made on Israeli territory because the settlements are illegal, OSS calls on the government to meet its international legal obligations and ban trade with the settlements. Trade with the illegal settlements not only contributes to their sustainability and obstructing the peace process, but it further entrenches Israel’s (criminal) apartheid policies.
International customary law stipulates that where a state violates international law, such as transferring its population into an occupied territory, all other states are obliged not to recognise the situation as lawful. By trading with the illegal settlements, businesses and states, including South Africa, are undermining fundamental principles of international law. Assisting, abetting or in any way sustaining illegal settlements and their business enterprises falls foul of South Africa’s laws including the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, the implementation of the Rome Statute Act and the Geneva Conventions Act.
We call on President Jacob Zuma and Minister Rob Davies to immediately advise all companies in South Africa conducting trade with illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank that these settlements are in violation of international law and that doing business with them maintains conflict. In terms of our laws, the government is under an obligation to inform companies doing business with Israeli settlements that may be liable to legal sanctions under South African and international law.