URGENT: Message from Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine.
David Miliband <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> UK Foreign Secretary
Ron Prosor <mailto:email@example.com> Israeli Ambassador
Ehud Barak <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Israeli Minister of Defence
His Excellency Shimon Peres <mailto:email@example.com> President of Israel
Itzhak Lipovetzky , President,The Israeli Association of United Architects<firstname.lastname@example.org>
22 August 2009
End IDF terror in Bil’in!
We are writing to protest in the strongest possible terms at the illegal military incursions and attacks by the IDF into the peaceful West Bank village of Bil'in near Ramallah. These terrifying night time incursions have resulted thus far in the arrests of 25 people (most under 18) 18 of whom still remain in detention.
Since 1991, 60% of Bi’ilin’s agricultural land has been confiscated to build settlements for Israelis, unlawful under the Geneva conventions, continue the enforced constructon of the annexation Wall, decreed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
Our international group Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine are extremely concerned at these actions, and the resulting expropriated land stolen from these West Bank villages, including the participation of Israeli architects and planners involved in the design and construction of the illegal housing, against professional ethics and the UIA codes of conduct.
The effect of these actions has been both to impoverish the defenceless Palestinian community and to imprison them in their village, where they are subject to repeated attacks by the Israeli army. These attacks have resulted in injury and even death.
However the people of Bil'in have responded with immense self-control. They have shown the strength of their commitment to a humanitarian outcome by opting for a strategy of non-violence. They have organised weekly demonstrations against the Wall, after Friday prayers. These demonstrations have attracted supporters from Israel and from peace campaigners around the world. However the Israeli army, under no threat whatsoever, has responded with tear gas and rubber and live bullets. On 17th April 2009, Bassem Abu Rameh, known to everyone including the Israeli army, as a man of peace, was shot dead at close range by a high velocity gas cannister. Thus far there seems to have been no credible investigation of his death, or arrest of the known soldier who perpetrated this crime.
The Israeli government seems to find non-violent responses to its illegal behaviour extremely threatening. This may explain the dangerous escalation now taking place. Since June there has been an increased intimidatory atmosphere with regular night raids by heavily armed, face blackened IDF soldiers. These raids are accompanied by threats and intimidation of vulnerable civilians in the Bil'in area and by arrests. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the state wishes to make an example of those who would justifiably protest non-violently. They have the power to do this through the terror of night time raids, threats and intimidation of women, old people and children, and by jailing the members of the organising committees.
As supporters of Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, anxious for a peaceful and just solution to the conflict, we urge you to use your good offices with the Israeli Government and Ministry of Defence to call for Israel's and its IDF's adherence to international law.
We also call for:
- a halt to these vicious and indiscriminate pogroms in the West Bank villages and an immediate end to the terror incursions and arrests.
- the release of all who have been arrested,
- an end to all illegal settlement construction, and participation in this by Israeli architects and planners.
- removal of all settlers in housing already built on Bil'in land, and from all expropriated land in the Occupied Territories.
- the return of the land to the rightful owners, the village of Bil'in
- dismantling of the illegal Separation Barrier and compensation for all the destruction created by the wall as demanded by the ICJ in 2004.
- an embargo on all arms trading, joint training and EU privileges,
- comprehensive sanctions until Israel adheres to international law and all UN resolutions.
In addition in meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu, we urge you to demand:
* Israeli settlements blocks – they must be dismantled, not just frozen
* End Israel ’s siege on Gaza
* End Israel ’s ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem
Abe Hayeem, RIBA Chair APJP
Hans Haenlein, RIBA
John Hodge, RIBA
Michael Goulden, RIBA
Walter Hain, Architect. UK
Jake Brown, Architect, UK
Anil Korotane, F.A.S.T.
John Lynes, Eng. UK
Isabel Camacho, Arquitecto, Spain
Ian Martin, journalist, UK
Kelvin Bland, RIBA, UK
Gail Waldman, RIBA,UK
Robert Shaw, RIBA
John Murray, Architect
Malcolm Hecks, Architectural and Planning consultant, France
Martin O’Shea, RIBA, UK
David Berridge, RIBA
Beatriz C. Maturana, Architects for Peace, Australia
John Dorman, Architects, Ireland
Mustafa Chaudhury, Architect, UK
Haifa Hammami, Architect, UK
Faisal Khan, RIBA, UK
Asif Khan, MRTPI, Planner UK
Aun Q Qurashi, RIBA
Kim Linden, RIBA
Anne Markey BArch MSc RIBA
John Dorman, RIAI, Ireland
Stephen Kerpen, Architect, US
Michael Gwilliam, MRTPI, Planner, UK
(this is only a representative list which is ongoing-
please contact us if you wish to add your name.)