Abe Hayeem presentation to RIBA Council, 19 March 2014

I’m Abe Hayeem, a long time member of the RIBA and chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine(APJP). Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak.  Past President Angela Brady and George Oldham must be commended in bringing this Motion to the RIBA Council.

APJP, backed by many influential architects and academics worldwide, is seeking international support for an ethical and just practice for our professions in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  We ask the RIBA to back the UIA resolution 13 , made in 2009 condemning illegal projects built against the Geneva Conventions by Israel. Nearly five years later nothing further has been done at the UIA to take the required positive action to suspend the IAUA. It needs a body like the RIBA to lead with its prestige and its obvious links and responsibility as the country that gave birth to and promoted the establishment of the Zionist State in Palestine.

Over the last five years, despite the above Resolution, the situation in Israel /Palestine is at its most grave and urgent, with illegal Israeli settlements expanding daily under increasing violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967, undermining peace talks that seem to go nowhere. Israeli settlements established in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are clear violations of  Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention[vi]  and The Hague Convention of 1907[vii] . On both sets of law and agreement on settlements, illegality is the consensus position of the international community including the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States government. This is why international action is needed, more than mere condemnation by the world powers, who it seems collude with Israel as allies.

We have approached Israeli officials and housing ministers and municipalities including most often the Israeli Association of United Architects in protest over these projects with little or no response. http://apjp.org/signatories/

The IAUA has failed to censure its members’ participation in a huge real-estate enterprise that breaches international law and considered as participating in war crimes. Israeli architects carrying out the state’s and its military agenda is almost unique. Israel’s goal remains -maximum land with minimum Palestinians. 53,000 settler homes have been built since 1993, and 15,000 Palestinian homes destroyed. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed earlier this week that 2013 was a record year in settlement construction, while 2014 has seen the beginning of construction of 2,534 housing projects - a rise of 123 percent from 2013.