Israeli and Palestinian architects are split over a forthcoming United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) trade mission for British architects to the region
The trip, revealed in last week’s AJ, will include visits to both the Association of Architects in Palestine (AAP) and the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA).
IAUA head of foreign relations Itzhak Lipovetzky welcomed the news, saying: ‘We are informed of the UKTI’s architects trip to Israel and we are taking part in it.’
But the AAP complained that it was not notified of the delegation, and claimed it illegitimately ‘aims at normalising’ relations with its Israeli counterparts.
Speaking on behalf of the AAP and the Engineering Association - Jerusalem Center (EA-JC), architect Nadia Habash, said: ‘This market visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories is totally rejected and not welcomed by the Palestinian architects and their representative bodies.
‘Although we appreciate having professional relationships with our British [counterparts], this trip does not recognise and support our national and legitimate rights. On the contrary it equalises between the criminal and the victim.’
She added: ‘We welcome a visit that is an eyewitness on the destruction of Gaza and the threat of the religious holy places, but we don’t welcome a visit that aims at normalising [relations] between Palestinian and Israeli architects.’
The trip, from 8 to 11 December, will visit construction projects in Tel Aviv and Ramallah and look at opportunities afforded by city expansions being built in New Jericho and Galilee.
The UKTI said there were ‘a number of large opportunities, including major new cities’ in the area. It refused to comment on the AAP’s reaction.
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