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Headline

Row over RIBA's Israel trip escalates

Comment

Well done by the Palestinians to demand that the RIBA honour its democratically decided 19 Council Resolution to call for the suspension of the IAUA (Israeli Architects association) for its casual disregard of its members breaches of ethical codes, UIA Resolutions and international law. This is all grave misconduct which the IAUA should have taken action on by its architects as per UIA Article 1.4 which states that "to maintain public confidence in the integrity and the ability of architects by demanding that Member Sections of the Union ask their architects to act with the highest moral and professional standards;" The International Committee, and indeed the RIBA President had publicly opposed their own Council's decision, and have acted with inertia and passivity and done everything to obfuscate and divert from the Resolution, even at the UIA General Assembly when they had a chance to pursue it, and despite Desmond Tutu making an appeal to support the suspension of architects who create the apartheid infrastructure and facts on the ground of Israel's illegal occupation. Decades of attempts at 'dialogue' and peace talks have failed -since Israel has no intention whatsoever from relinquishing its illegal and continually escalating land grabs, despite world condemnation, and the refusal of the big powers to stop the ethnic cleansing, in Israel itself with the displacement and forced removal of Palestinians and Bedouin from the Negev and Galilee and the main cities and the West Bank. Once again we have the same chorus from Dan Leon, recently appointed to the RIBA, and representing the Constructive Dialogue group, talking about "using architecture as a positive force for bringing people together, rather than being divisive through boycotts" when he knows full well that this is the usual distraction employed by Israel lobbyists to neutralise any required action being taken, allowing Israel a free reign to continue its frenzied settlement expansion, using architecture and its applied apartheid legislation to ensure the separation of the Israeli and Palestinian communities, while stealing their land and homes, and confining them into enclaves and in the case of Gaza, a high security prison. This is not the time for the RIBA "to promote dialogue and mutual recognition between parties" when one party is the oppressor intent on keeping the other party in a state of perpetual oppression and under its iron fist.This is not a case of "communities in civil conflict or natural disaster". It is a brutal unending occupation and a series of horrendous man-made disaster that must be ended. In fact those behind the 19 March Resolution are answering the call from the Palestinian civil society for the international community to send a message to the recalcitrant Israelis that there is a price to pay for the decades of impunity and their devastated lives, by proposing that " exclusion and sanction" is the only non-violent means left to change the situation, ultimately achieving justice and peace. Those Israeli architects who do not work on projects in the occupied territories, still work within a very discriminatory set-up for Palestinian citizens of Israel, in housing, planning, home ownership and development, and as a body have never stopped practising or objecting to this scenario. If they were sincere, they would welcome such a move to suspend their ineffective association, and support the Palestinian architects in achieving true equality for their community. Instead of this delegation, which was set up to appease the Israel lobby, and is an arrogant and colonial approach to a very clear cut situation that needs urgent action, the RIBA and its council should move forward to fulfil its real remit, and progress the 19 March Council Resolution, based on very clear cut and expert opinion and overwhelming evidence by Israeli architects like Eyal Weizman, Israeli human rights organisations like B'Tselem and ICAHD, and of course international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions. It is Dan Leon, the Constructive Dialogue crowd, and the International Committee who are the amateurs in this case, out of their depth in this serious case of needing upholding the professional ethics of architecture and the RIBA, instead of producing counterproductive measures that waste the resources of the RIBA, and prevent rather than enhance progress.

Posted date

14 November, 2014

Posted time

5:55 pm

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