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ISRAEL MUST BE HELD TO ACCOUNT FOR DESTRUCTION

LETTERS

Israel's war of terror has launched the widespread devastation of Lebanon - a country painstakingly reconstructed after 16 years of war. In defiance of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has caused the death of hundreds of Lebanese and Gazan civilians and the ongoing destruction of villages, towns and cities, including historic Baalbeck and Tyre. Already one million refugees have been driven from their homes.

For architects and planners, the horror is compounded by the knowledge that their field of expertise - the planning, creation and care of the built environment - has been hijacked and abused.

Israel has gone on the rampage using deadly hi-tech weaponry, manifesting the connection between military operations and an horrific form of urban planning. Architecture and planning are deployed as weapons of control in a theatre of destruction. Holding an entire state and its civilians as hostages, the Israeli army and airforce are 'reshaping' and 'cleansing' Lebanon, as they have for years in Gaza and the West Bank, with terrifying impact on the social, economic and human fabric.

Israel's bombing of infrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza - housing, roads, bridges, power stations, airports, factories, universities, hospitals - reveals the imprimatur of a terror state.

This destruction and civilian deaths are not regarded even as 'collateral damage' but done intentionally to try to achieve Israel's futile political ends. Its blowing-up of an oil depot near Sidon has caused a major environmental disaster along its Mediterranean shores. Repeated bombings have denied access for humanitarian relief and rescue teams.

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine fully supports calls from the international community for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire leading to proper negotiations. The British government must stop backing the US in its complicity and support for Israel's criminal actions. We add our voice to the growing chorus of those calling for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes. Israel should be made financially liable for the physical destruction carried out in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

Ted Cullinan, Charles Jencks, Peter Ahrends, Neave Brown, Hans Haenlein, Abe Hayeem, Kate Mackintosh, Sam Webb, Antoine Raffoul, Ian Martin, Eyal Weizman, Walter Hain, Haifa Hammami, Shmulik Groag, Phil Gusack, Francesca Viceconti, John Lynes, Steve Fox, John van Rooyen, Neil Lambert, Paul Barham, John Waller, John Murray

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