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Ex-British Land boss Ritblat urges RIBA to rethink Israel stance


Again the chief proponent of the RIBA motion, Abe Hayeem, proves that it was based on falsehoods and that no-one at the RIBA Council meeting rebutted those falsehoods. Just one falsehood: he writes about the 'obscene apartheid wall'. The separation fence has nothing to do with 'apartheid'. It was built to save lives because people in Israel - both Jews and Arabs - were being murdered by suicide bombers. The value of the fence in saving lives is evident from the data: In 2002, the year before construction started, 457 Israelis were murdered; in 2009, 8 Israelis were killed. More here: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/fence.html The fence affects around 1.6% of the Occupied Territories. Israel has set up a compensation fund of around $60 million. 60,000 olive trees destroyed in the construction have been replanted. It's not nice of course. But it has saved a lot of lives. Abe Hayeem's designation of Cifwatch as "libellous", "hate- enciting" and a "hate site" (and me as "ignorant") is risible. It simply demonstrates that can't cope with being confronted with the truth - which should have happened at the RIBA Council meeting but clearly didn't. Another falsehood is the statement that Israel is "denying any possibility of a Palestinian state." Dennis Ross was at Camp David (2000) in the US negotiating team. If you go to Dennis Ross’s book “The Missing Peace” you will learn that the Palestinians turned down an offer of 91 percent of the West Bank in contiguous territory plus an additional 1 percent in land swaps (there was to be a continued Israeli security presence along 15 percent of the border with Jordan). Israel signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt; withdrew from Sinai, uprooting Jewish settlements; withdrew from Gaza, uprooting Jewish settlements. A Palestinian State was also on offer in 1948. Prime Minister Olmert made an even more generous offer. Israel has made proven sacrifices for peace - including most recently releasing terrorists from prison. As the Ritblats and many others have said, it is entirely wrong that RIBA - an institution which has no foreign policy expertise - should attempt to arbitrate in the Middle East. Particularly as the motion was based on demonstrable falsehoods and there was no-one with Middle East expertise present at the meeting to rebut these falsehoods. Further, RIBA is a Charity and Charities cannot engage in political activity which is beyond their expressed aims.

Posted date

7 June, 2014

Posted time

9:53 pm