RIBA motion calls on UIA to suspend Israeli membership

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) calls on the International Union of Architects (UIA) to suspend the membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA).

Full text of the Motion and Signatories available at Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (reprinted below):

MOTION TO RIBA COUNCIL, 19 MARCH  2014

Continue to Condone?

As seen in the world media in the past few months, there is increasing concern and condemnation worldwide over the illegal settlement-building by the Israelis to house nearly 600,000 Israeli settlers on Palestinian land, against international law.

There is mounting pressure for us not to continue to condone what we as a profession find unacceptable, where projects are being created on occupied land that defy the rights and international agreements made between Israel and Palestine since Oslo in 1993, and passed in numerous UN Resolutions since 1967.

Illegal Settlement

Israel’s colonial settlement policy, has continued relentlessly over the last 5 decades in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem. The active collaboration of architects and planners has been central to the creation of hundreds of illegal settlements in serious breaches of the 4th Geneva Convention  which prohibits a state from moving its civilians into territories it occupies. Further, ‘Judaisation’ projects within Israel itself, in the Negev desert and Galilee involving the dispossession of thousands of Palestinian citizens -including Bedouin, to create new Jewish settlements, are now being implemented against vociferous public protest. All of these projects involve Architects, Planners and Construction team to create them.

Worst Years of Abuse

2013 has been declared one of the worst years in human rights abuses and violence against the Palestinian people under Israel’s military rule. Amnesty International’s latest report documents Israel’s killings and brutalization of Palestinians in the West Bank over a three-year period, during peaceful protests against the illegal Separation Wall and the expropriation or their village land to expand Israeli settlements.

UIA’s Resolution 13 passed at Istanbul in 2005 and re-confirmed at Brazil in 2009 states that “The UIA Council condemns development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory, and similarly it condemns all action contravening the fourth Geneva Convention”.

Many representations concerning these projects, involving discriminatory Israeli law, have been made to the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA), which has detached itself from it’s members’ continuing activities against professional ethics and the UIA Accords. The RIBA await acknowledgment of our letter of 28 Feb 2014. In fact the illegal settlement policy has accelerated in defiance of peace talks, severely compromising any possibility of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.The UIA, having made its position clear, must now act on the violation of it’s code of ethics and defiance of it’s resolution.

RESOLUTION

Since the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has paid no regard to the UIA resolution 13 of 2005 and 2009, the RIBA calls on the UIA, as the international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession, to suspend the membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects, until it acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law,  the UIA Accords and Resolution 13.

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