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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Letter to Mayor of Jerusalem to stop Silwan Demolitions



Nir Barkat

Mayor of Jerusalem

Safra Square 1, Jerusalem


10th March 2009 (will be updated again to 10 April 2010)


Dear Mayor Barkat


RE: Stop the Silwan Demolitions!


The demolition orders to 89 houses in Al-Bustan and the recent demolitions of houses in Silwan, and the on-going demolitions and expropriation of Palestinian homes in Sheik Jarrah and Jabel Mukhabar have all been condemned by the international community, by the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and the EU in its latest report (December 2008) on Israel’s annexations in East Jerusalem. While the Elad settlers are given free reign to take over Palestinian houses and land, and build illegally, Palestinians are most usually denied planning permission to build to house their growing families. Most of the 1,500 inhabitants in Al-Bustan in the houses scheduled for demolition have been living there for decades. Some of them put down stakes already pre-1967, way before the authorities handed control of the compound to the right-wing Elad organization and changed its name to "City of David."


When Palestinian residents have no choice but build on their own land, their houses are demolished, while a blind eye is turned to the illegal activities of the Elad settlers, and the occupiers of ‘Jonathan House”. The Absentee Properties Law, and ‘open space’ laws are used fraudulently to take over Palestinian houses. All these practices are illegal and discriminatory, and have been well documented by human rights groups, Ir Amim, B’tselem, ICAHD and the EU in two major reports. These by no means can be described as “disinformation”, or “A lot of Air”. It is not for the Jerusalem Municipality to decide what is ‘illegal’ in East Jerusalem, since Israel is itself an illegal occupier here.


Silwan is part of East Jerusalem whose annexation by Israel after the 1967 war is considered illegal under international law and the Geneva Convention. No country in the world recognises Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. The planned area, labelled the historical ‘City of David’, is the brainchild of Elad, a fundamentalist settler group, which has been buying and expropriating houses in Palestinian neighbourhoods for many years, with the tacit approval of the Jerusalem mayoralty. Elad is promoting the idea that the ‘City of David’ would preclude the presence in this area of any other people even though they may have been there for centuries. This is a dangerous illusion that will destroy the chance of peace.


Haphazard archaeological digging is causing Silwan residents’ houses and an UNRWA school to collapse. Elad decides everything of consequence relating to the Wadi Hilwe sites—including the decision to expand and extend the digging as it sees fit, without reference to the needs and rights of Silwan's Palestinian residents. Important finds not considered relevant to ancient Jewish settlement are being destroyed. There is no precedent in Israel for handing over responsibility for serious archaeological work to a militant political organization with its own clear extremist agenda. It is alleged that Elad is behind the initiative to employ Moshe Safdie’s office to draw up a Master Plan for the whole area surrounding Silwan which, if carried out, would add another obstacle in the way of creating a 'viable' Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. These plans are also contrary to international law and professional codes of ethics, due to their discriminatory nature.


The EU has condemned this development in their report (see items from their report) in 2005 and now again in 2009. The threatened Silwan action also contravenes the spirit and letter of the Road Map which specifies that "the Government of Israel ends actions undermining trust, including attacks in civilian areas and confiscation/demolition of Palestinian homes and property…as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction."


In summary:


  1. The proposals for demolitions of these 89 houses, and any further demolitions are totally unacceptable, illegal under international law, and cannot be justified under any circumstances. They must be stopped and the demolition orders rescinded.


  1. The activities and the control of Silwan that has been handed over to the Elad fundamentalists, who are given extra judicial control over the Silwan residents, backed by the police and IDF, and persecution and intimidation of the Silwan residents must be ended. The armed settlers must be removed from the area.


  1. The illegal and very damaging tunnelling without proper permission or legal procedures, under their houses, also causing the collapse of an UNWRA school, must stop.


  1. The alternative plan by the Palestinian residents of Silwan must be considered and their needs taken into account, without removing them or demolishing their houses for which permission must be granted. It is the illegal Elad settlers who should be removed, as they are the cause of conflict in an already divided city.


  1. The plans for the archaeological park must be stopped. Archaeology is, or should be, a discipline untainted by narrow political or sectarian interests. In Silwan, sadly, archaeology —and the Israel Antiquities Authority— is being openly exploited for purely political purposes that include the removal of innocent civilians from their homes. We call upon the government of Israel, the Jerusalem Municipality, the INPA, the IAA, and all responsible members of Israel's academic community to put an end at once to this blatant perversion and dangerous politicization of an academic field of endeavour. Knowledge of these activities to create the ‘archaeological park’ will deter rather than attract tourists from around the world.


  1. This whole park project must not be allowed to continue, and it is your responsibility as the Mayor to put an end to all this illegal activity which will inflame hatred and ignite the city, and will be dangerous to the city's stability. It will be damaging to the human and civil rights of Jerusalem’s Palestinian citizens, create more refugees, and will deny the promise of a two-state solution and a viable Palestinian state under UN Resolution 242, and every peace agreement since Oslo, the Road Map, and Annapolis. We call an end to all house demolitions, settlement construction, and house and land expropriation in East Jerusalem and in the Occupied West Bank that is creating apartheid for Palestinians.


  1. The actions of the Jerusalem Municipality and Israel’s Housing Ministry on Silwan, E1 and Lifta prompted an advertisement in the London Times in 2007 signed by over 350 architects, planners and academics and NGOs from all over the world, many of them prominent figures internationally, including many Jewish and Israeli signatories, calling a halt to all these projects that involve illegal activities, breaches of international law and human rights, and professional ethics.


  1. This call is co-ordinated with local Israeli and Palestinian architects and NGOs like BIMKOM, ICAHD, IR-AMIM, ACRI, BAT-SHALOM, ARIJ, the residents’ committees of Silwan, Rabbis for Human Rights  and others.


We hope that you will listen to this call, in the interests of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine, and the future of a peaceful Middle East.


Yours sincerely

Abe Hayeem, Architect RIBA

Chair: Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine

and all the following signatories:


Charles Jencks: Architectural Historian, Writer and Critic, UK/USA.

Ted Cullinan, CBE, RA: Edward Cullinan Architects, UK.

Will Alsop RA, OBE: Principal SMC William Alsop, Winner Stirling Prize 2000, UK.

Zvi Hecker: Architect, Germany/Netherlands/Israel.

Sir Terry Farrell: Principal Terry Farrell Partners, UK.

Sir Richard McCormack: Partner MJP Architects, Former RIBA President, UK.

George Ferguson: Acanthus Ferguson Mann Architects, Former President RIBA

Jack Pringle:RIBA President, 2005-2007 UK.0

Sunand Prasad: RIBA President, Principal Penoyre Prasad Architects, , UK.

Eva Jiricna: Principal Jiricna Architects, UK.

Rick Mather: Principal Rick Mather Architects, UK.

Abe Hayeem: Architect, APJP Chairman, UK.

Eyal Weizman: Author ‘A Civilan Occupation’, Director Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmith’s College, UK/Israel.

Paul Hyett: RIBA President 2001-2003, UK.

Hans Haenlein: Principal Hans Haenlein Architects, UK.

Neave Brown: Artist and Architect of Alexandra Road, UK.

Robin Nicholson: ECA architects, UK.

David Levitt: Architect Levitt, Bernstein, UK.

Tom Kay: Architect, UK.

Jeff Halper: ICAHD Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel.

Malkit Shoshan: Director of Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST), Netherlands/Israel.

Shmulik Groag: Director, BIMKOM, Israel. (E1, Silwan)

Cezary Bednarski: Principal Studio Bednarski, UK/Poland.

Professor Nasser Rabat: Aga Khan Professor, MIT, USA.

Professor Mike Davis: Author ‘City of Quartz’, Professor University of California Davis, USA.

Professor Saskia Sassen: Author ‘Cities in a World Economy’, University of Chicago,          London School of Economics, USA/UK.

Suad Amiry: Author, Founder and Director of RIWAQ, Centre for Architectural Conservation, Palestine.

Beatriz Maturana: Archimage, President and Founder of Architects for Peace, Australia.

Eitan Bronstein: Director of Zochrot, Israel.

Uri Davis: Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter, IAIS, Founder of Al-Beit, Israel.

Professor Samer Akkach: Director Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture, Adelaide, University, Australia.

Professor Zvi Efrat: Department Head, Architecture Department, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel.

Professor Derek Gregory: Distinguished Scholar, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Professor Neil Smith: PhD Johns Hopkins, Distinguished Prof. CUNY Graduate Center, USA.

Osama Hamdan: Conservation Architect and Lecturer, Al Quds University, Palestine.

Professor Haim Bresheeth: Filmmaker, Photographer, Chair of Media and Cultural Studies, University East London, UK/Israel.

Professor Bob Tavernor: Director of Cities Program, Architecture and Urban Studies, London School of Economics, UK.

Dr. Gaetano Palumbo: Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK.

Professor Oren Yiftahel: Professor of Geography, Ben Gurion University, Israel.

David Tartakover: Graphic Designer, Israel Prize Laureate for Design 2002, Israel.

Professor Mario Coyula: Architect and Urban Planner, Cuba.

Professor Peter Marcuse:Columbia University,NY,USA

Lynda Thorne: EU Environmental Consultant, Romania.

Ian Martin: Architects Journal Magazine, UK.

Louis Hellman: Architect and Cartoonist, UK.

Robert Bevan: Author ‘The Destruction of Memory’, UK.

Dr. Jim Berrow: Architectural Historian, UK.

Arad Sharon: AA dipl, Director Arieh Sharon, Eldar Sharon Architects & Town Planners L.T.D, Israel.

Georgeann B. Burns Assoc. AIA: Principal, RTKL Associates, Inc., USA.

Gail Waldman: Waldman-Jim Architects, UK.

Ceridwen Owen: Architect, Lecturer in Architecture, University of Tasmania, Australia.

Karen McWilliam: Architect, Lab Architecture, Australia.

Raphael Sperry AIA: Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, USA.

Claudia Bloom: Director, Avanti Architects, UK.

Michael Safier: Planner, Bartlett College, University College London, UK.

Junko Iwaya: Architect, Japan.

Professor Bas Molenaar: Healthcare Architect, Netherlands.

Aurore Julien: Renewable Energy Consultant, UK.

Charles Dunnett: Dunnett Craven Ltd., UK.

Ross Ramus: RAIA Ramus Architects,USA.

Mikolaj Kadubowski: Partner GRUPA 5 ARCHITECTS, Warsaw.

Mungo Smith: Director of MAAP Architects, London.

Susan Francis: Special Advisor on Healthcare, CABE, London.

Mark Kubaczka: Dyrektor, artchitecture sp zo o, Warsaw.

Liane Friedrich: Architect, Brazil.

Prof. Hennu Kjisik: Architect, Finland.

Derek Stow OBE: Architect, London.

Professor Irene Bruegel: Planner, London South Bank University, UK.

Dace Kalvane: Aplus architects, Latvia.

Dick Urban Vestro: Professor Emeritus,School of Architecture, Stockholm

Douglas Carson: Eric Parry Architects.

Hubert Murray AIA, RIBA: President of Boston Society of Architects, USA .

Nick Jeffrey: Retired Head of School of Planning the Architectural Association, Guest Curator in Arch. Tate Modern, UK .



Keith Bennett, RIBA: Architect, UK .

Laura Natkins: Architect, Harvard University , USA .

Shelley Indyk: Architect, Principal Indyk Ltd., Australia .

Salem Thawaba: PhD Bir Zeit University , Palestine .

Tchaik Chassay: Chassay+Last Architects.

Kate Mackintosh: Architect, UK.

Haifa Hammami: Architect, APJP Secretary, UK

Walter Hain: Architect, UK.

Alon Cohen Lifshitz: BIMKOM, Israel.

Mayyad Bader, Architect, Australia,Palestine

Sidney Bernstein: Architect,

Omar Qattan: Qattan Foundation, UK.

Erland Seilskkjaer: Architect, Norway.

Frank de Marco: Architect UK.

Yara Sharif, PhD, Architect, Palestine

Francesca Viceconti: Architect, Italy.

Martin O’Shea: Architect, UK.

Salim Jaleel: Architect, UK.

Nasser Golzary, Golzary Architects

Michael Gwilliam: Planner, UK.

Clive Jones: Architect, UK.

Mike Macrae: Architect, UK.

Michael Goulden: Architect, Wales.

Joanna Heilig: Architect, Sweden.

Anne Markey,Architect, London Metropolitan Univ.

Joanna Chambers: Planner, UK.

Jeremy Dain: Architect, UK.

Phil Gusack: Architect, UK.

Malcolm Hecks: Architect, France.

Kelvin Bland, Architect, UK

Joe Lynes: Architect & CPT, Palestine.

Nadia Habash: Architect, UK.

Zahira Nazer: Urbanist, UK.

Karin Pally: Planner, LA.

Ed Hall: Architect, UK.

Shaqir Sufian: Architect, UK.

John Waller: Architect, UK.

Paul Barham: Architect, UK.

Geoff Haslam: Architect, UK.

Terry Meade: Architect, Brighton University, UK.

Martin Crookston: Architect, UK.

Alan Arnstein: Architect, UK.

Tarek Ragheb: Architect, UK.

Gil Doron: Artist, UK/Israel.

John Murray: Architect, UK.

Nicholas Wood: Architect UK/South Africa.

Keith Cowling: Architect, UK.

Jake Brown: Architect, UK.

Steve Fox: Architect, UK.

Keith Hallett: Architect, UK.

Adrian King: Architect, UK.

John Hodge: Architect, UK.

Issa Sarie: Architect, UK.

Wade Sowman: Planner, New Zealand.

Jose Vilar: Architect, USA.

D. Shah: Architect, UK.

Samir Srouji: Architect, USA.

M. Azhar: Architect, UK.

Stefano Ferrari: Architect, UK/Italy.

Fahmi Salameh: Architect, Palestine.

Ray Bowden Architect, UK.

Vassilis Ierides: Architect, Greece.

Khaldun Bishara: Architect, Palestine.

Steve Kessel: Architect, UK.

Javiera Maturana: Planner, Australia.

Yaron Turel: Architect, Israel.

Orna Shatil: Architect, Israel.

Frederico Zaidan: Architect, Brazil.

Shelly Roberts: Architect, Australia.

Tim Bruce Dick: Architect, UK.

M. Azhar: Architect, UK.

Hasan A. Hammami, USA.

Eleanor Chapman: Australia.

Nadia Piette: Netherlands.

Ivar Leivestad: Australia.

Merinda Hall: Australia.

Racheli Bar Or: Israel.

Walid Issa: USA.

Julian Rutt: Australia.

Nadine Samaha: Australia.

Imm Chew

Ranad Shqeirat

Kabir Hussain

Abdulmajid Karanouh

Niel Lambert

David Reidy

Leena Ismail

Miranda Pennell

Jennifer Dudgeon

Susan Mellersh Lucas

Noor Salman

Rand el haj Hasan

Eleanor Mayfield

Jose Vilar

Tariq Z. Khayyat

Emily Jack

Samer Rabie

Jalal El Ali

Noor Tibi

Yusuf Tibeh

Dave Reidy

Amal Moh

Dan Rigamonti

Judy Andler

Sharon Rosenfelder,Israel (Silwan)

Reuven Rosenfelder,Israel(Silwan)

Rosaleen Crushell

MJ Bissan: Sculptor

Hugo David Moline

Mima Kearns

Alex Whitton

Gareth Mantle

Nathan Fothergill

Randy Eveleigh

Roger Rajaratnam: Australia.

Kim Roberts (Lifta)

Alif Nadya Inniar Rosa

Noor Tibi (Lifta)

Yasid Abed Rego

Nihal Alayyah

Daoud Abdallah

Hala Atik

Shaden Qasem

Samira Shehadeh

Giselle Benitez: Planner, NSW, Australia.

Ruba Awwad

Marc Loran

Sandina Robbins

Rory Toomey: Architect, Australia.

Sarah Bridges: Australia.

Afaf Shehadeh

Sophia Hammoudeh

Liana Obeidi

Mohammad Abdlah Said Abdallah

Adwa Kamal

Osman M. Elkheir

Sulaiman M. Aqel

Fatimah Mohammed (Lifta)

Farhat Y. Muhawi (E1)

Brazilian Palestine Interest Committee (Lifta)

Nour Salman (Lifta)


Heidi Splay

Anil Korotane, F.A.S.T

Alisar Aoun

Paul Ballora: Paul Balora Architects.

Claudia Cleaver

Abder Ghouleh: USA.

Damian Eckersley

Mohammad Odeh

Mariane Mathia

Hana Abdallah

Sulaiman M. Aqel

Mira Roses

Damian Eckersley

Mathew Bond, Australia.

Goren Vodicka

Mohammed Hilala

Shirin Alqadi

Mohamed Hdaib

Sami B Suriyisami

Stephen Hyland: Planner PGDiptp MRTPI.

Suhayla Odeh

James Charles Jameson: Australia.

Anthony McCInneny

Tony Horan (E1)

Christopher Myles

Susan Bromley

Richard Buckley

Thomas Ableman

Caroline Weir

Robert Cunningham

Mary Emmerson

Nahida Yasin

Michael Iffrig

Christian Drinkwater,DLA Architects

Michael Praamsma

Uschi Jesson

Michael Thomas Bambrick

Paula McIlwrath

Barbara Crow

Kathleen Desmond

Yara Abdullah

Phil Henneman

Judith Jeffrey: Architect (retired), UK.

Michael Bambrick

Thomas Adelman

Clare Holohan

Hussam Siam

Ken Taylor

Irmila Benner

Webb Wilber

Mada Al Carmel: Arab Centre for Applied Social Research

Anita Vitello

Khaled Azmi

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein:ICAHD

Emad Salameh(Lifta)

Dean La Tourelle,(Silwan)

Maya Pasternak

Ahmad Abassi (Silwan)

Micha Andreieff, Urbanist, Strasbourg, France

Gunter Schenk,IAPP, Denmark (E1)

Jean-Paul Francois Galibert,Rec. Honoraire P.T.T., Ancien Casque Bleu (E1)

Lois Swartz,(Lifta)

Nick Bourns,(E1), Melbourne, Australia

Adnan Harambasic, Architect, Norway

Rania Halawani(Lifta)

Hammam Farah, (Lifta)

Tamara Tootasali

Hani Nasser

Rowiena J. (Lifta)

Keith Bennet, ARIBA

Corinne Bennett (E1)

Barbara Crow (E1)

Andrew Holohan (E1)

Paul Mclwrath,Belfast (E1)

Roseleen Walsh, Ireland (E1)

Liam Barr, Ireland(E1)

Tierna Cunningham,Ireland (E1)

Jack O'Neill, Ireland (E1)

Rolf Clayton, (E1)


Noor Maraqa

Yazan Salameh, (Lifta)

Alaa Mandoor (E1)

Shorouq Al Jabari (Lifta)

Nabeha Bages-Zegar (Lifta)

Fabio Bagnara, Architect, Spain,Italy(E1)

Michel Iffrig (Lifta)

Nidal Jaber Saadeh,Dublin (E1)

Chrissie mhic giolla mhin, Belfast

Fra Stone, Ireland (E1)

Roger Higginson (E1)

Deletto Micsardi (E1)

Ghislaine Soulet (E1)

Dr.Issam Salameh (Lifta)

Mick Scott,Ireland (E1)

Ben Alofs (E1)

Wail Obeidi (Lifta)

Isabel Camacho Garcia (Lifta)

Ismail Atiyeh Ahmed El-Liftawi Jr.(Lifta)

Salma Salim (Silwan)

Philipp M. Rassman, Dep't of Anth.,U.of Washington (Silwan)

Walid M. Awad (Silwan)

Hadas Snir (Silwan)

Wail Obeidi (Lifta)

Basma Hanouda (Lifta)

Rebecca L.Stein (Lifta)

Nassab Ali (Lifta)

Samira Alostath (Lifta)

Princess Heba (Lifta)

Doa'a El-Batta (Lifta)

Heba R. Abed (Lifta)

Manar T'al Saleh (Lifta)

Lina Shaath (Lifta)

Salma Shaath (Lifta)

Shaimaa El Hissi (Lifta)

A.M.A Shimaa (Lifta)

Alaa Kishawi (Lifta)

Alaa Nizar Al-Kishawi (Lifta)

لمياء موسى (Lifta)

Jass Men (Lifta)

Naala N.Ibrahim (Lifta,E1)

Reem J. Abu ell Khair (Lifta)

Faten Joma'a (Lifta)

Heba A. Alalawi (Lifta)

Nesreen Qdeh (Lifta)

Abeer Abu Haleep (Lifta)

Eman el Shegh Ghalel (Lifta)

Roaa Abu el Komboz (Lifta)

Hanaa Eldahshan (Lifta)

Monda Taleb Heriz (Lifta)

Rawan Jouda (Lifta)

Dr. Abdurahman Mohamed (Lifta)

Jan Jordaan (Lifta)

Kevin Ramzi Nasir

James Bowen: Str Engineer , Ireland .

Sarah Khalid

Joanna Matos, France

John Dorman, Ireland PSC

Ruth Tenne





FROM the EU Report (Dec 2008) on East Jerusalem

The EU policy on Jerusalem is based on the principles set out in UN Security Council Resolution 242, notably the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force.  In consequence, the EU has never recognised the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 nor the subsequent 1980 Basic Law (Basic Law Jerusalem Capital of Israel) which made Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel. EU Member States have therefore placed their accredited missions in Tel Aviv.[i]  The EU opposes measures that would prejudice the outcome of Permanent Status Negotiations, consigned to the third phase of the Road Map, such as actions aimed at changing the status of East Jerusalem.

In conferences held in 1999 and 2001, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention reaffirmed the applicability of the Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and reiterated the need for full respect for the provisions of the Convention in that territory.

Israel is continuing increased settlement activity in and around East Jerusalem, linked by new roads and a tramway, which accentuate the separation of Jewish and Palestinian citizens, and an implementation of an apartheid policy that is inconsistent with a proclaimed democracy.

  • ·    
  • ·     [ii];
  • ·    

In combination, these measures unmistakably indicate an intention to sever all of East Jerusalem and the surrounding settlement blocks from the West Bank.