The West Bank Salt Factory is an inspiring story of the only Palestinian economical activity present on the shores of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea area has been occupied since 1967, and the Palestinian land in the area was completely confiscated by illegal settlements. The distinct characteristics and rich mineral content of the Dead Sea area makes it a goldmine, which currently is being unlawfully marketed and promoted by illegal settlement companies as “Israeli”.
Engineer Othman Hallak, the owner of the salt factory, founded the company in 1960 and started operating in 1964. However, after the 1967 war, the factory was in the middle of an Israeli declared closed military zone. From its humble beginnings of producing basic salt from salt evaporation ponds owned by the Hallak family, today the factory has 20 full-time employees and 80 seasonal and has developed its refining processes to produce high quality salt. Othman Hallak’s son Hussam works with his father to continue the legacy of the factory. With lack of opportunity and tight Israeli grip on the Dead Sea area, which after the Oslo Interim Peace Agreement fell under the categorisation of Area C or full Israeli control, Hussam Hallak tells us about the company’s challenge with getting access to electricity, which was finally granted in 2010. Before that, all the work in the factory relied on diesel generators.
The West Bank Salt Company employs people exclusively from the local community who have high qualifications in manufacturing, packaging and marketing, and ensures that it’s compliant with Fairtrade standards. The company has two production facilities; the first is the sea salt refinery and the second is the packaging house where the salt is packaged as well as a range of other products such as cosmetic body and facial care products out of Dead Sea mud, sea salt and water brines. Hussam aspires to ensure self-sufficiency in the Palestinian market and is currently exporting the salt products in the international market, branded as a Palestinian gourmet salt - high quality, chemical free and mineral rich. Hussam tells us that salt is “the new white gold” and that he thinks it is more precious coming from the sole Palestinian producer on the shores of the Dead Sea. It is refreshing and empowering to hear the story of the Hallak factory and its legacy in the area.
Product Selling Points: Supermarkets in Ramallah.