Thursday, December 04, 2014

  • Thursday, December 04, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
In March, the Royal Institute of British Architects joined the anti-Israel parade with a call for the International Union of Architects to expel their Israeli member organization, because, you know, "settlements" and "international law."

Of course, like all the other members of the anti-Israel bandwagon, Israel was the first and last of the nations to be subject to these sanctions.

RIBA has now decided, after a fact-finding mission to the region, that they really have no business making ignorant, anti-productive political statements. 

The RIBA’s resolution to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has been overturned by the insitute’s council today

According to the institute, the motion calling for the IAUA’s suspension, was beyond ‘the powers of [RIBA] council’ and ‘was not in furtherance of the chairtable objects of the RIBA and should not have been placed before RIBA Council’.

The news comes just a month after an RIBA taskforce led by Sumita Sinha and Peter Oborn – RIBA’s vice-president of international – travelled to the region and held talks with both the IAUA and the Association of Architects in Palestine.

Delivering his findings from the taskforce’s trip, Oborn said: ‘The RIBA motion was beyond the powers of council. It should not have come before the members of council.’

‘This is not the forum for these issues.’

Earlier today (4 December) council voted in support of the taskforce’s report and its recommendations - one of which included revoking the original motion.

RIBA president Stephen Hodder said: ‘I’m keen that architects engage positively with this issue. RIBA Council has an important role to play in engaging with difficult and controversial issues. However it is a widely held view that the resolution passed in March concerning the IAUA did not make a constructive contribution to the current situation.

‘For the Institute to have engaged in this issue in a confrontational way - by seeking suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the UIA - was wrong. These recommendations supersede the previous council resolution of 19 March 2014 and as a result that policy is now rescinded.’

He added: ‘We got it wrong.’

Hodder admitted the fallout had damaged the RIBA’s reputation and ‘had a financial impact’ on the institution, but wouldn’t expand on how much it had cost.
Perhaps one reason that RIBA changed its position is because of the criticism that the Association of Architects in Palestine hurled at RIBA for even meeting with the Israelis:
Ahmed Edaily, the chairman of the Engineers Association Jerusalem Centre and which includes the Association of Architects in Palestine on its letterhead, has now written to RIBA president Stephen Hodder to tell him that the visit was “planned as a tool to divert the RIBA motion and strip it of its spirit and agenda”.

He said the visit “is accepting and appearing to condone a group of architects involved with grave misconduct, breaches of international law and participating in war crimes… our resistance to the Israeli occupation is not a ‘civil conflict’ as you wrongly put it; it is a longstanding, brutal military occupation”.

In his letter this week, Edaily added: “The architects of the IAUA are practising within this situation without protest or comment and should be suspended from the UIA, not engaging with the RIBA.”

In a statement, the RIBA defended the visit. It said: “As chair of the working group it was appropriate for Peter Oborn to visit and hold talks with both the Israeli Association of United Architects and the Association of Architects in Palestine.

Similarly, there were starkly different reactions that another British architect delegation has received ahead from the IAUA and the AAP on their upcoming visit to the area:
Israeli and Palestinian architects are split over a forthcoming United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) trade mission for British architects to the region

The trip, revealed in last week’s AJ, will include visits to both the Association of Architects in Palestine (AAP) and the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA).

IAUA head of foreign relations Itzhak Lipovetzky welcomed the news, saying: ‘We are informed of the UKTI’s architects trip to Israel and we are taking part in it.’

But the AAP complained that it was not notified of the delegation, and claimed it illegitimately ‘aims at normalising’ relations with its Israeli counterparts.

Speaking on behalf of the AAP and the Engineering Association - Jerusalem Center (EA-JC), architect Nadia Habash, said: ‘This market visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories is totally rejected and not welcomed by the Palestinian architects and their representative bodies.

‘Although we appreciate having professional relationships with our British [counterparts], this trip does not recognise and support our national and legitimate rights. On the contrary it equalises between the criminal and the victim.

She added: ‘We welcome a visit that is an eyewitness on the destruction of Gaza and the threat of the religious holy places, but we don’t welcome a visit that aims at normalising [relations] between Palestinian and Israeli architects.’
British architects have been rudely reminded that one side, and only one side, wants to live in peace. The other side wants revenge and will not be happy until their "peace partners" are destroyed.

Nothing has changed since the first partition proposal in 1937 that Jews accepted and Arabs angrily rejected. It is possible that RIBA belatedly realized that by rewarding the rejectionist side, it only increases their obstinacy.

It is a shame that European leaders cannot figure out this simple fact for themselves.

Of course, one can see which side is against peace by simply by looking at the website of the parent body of the AAP, the Palestinian Engineering Association Jerusalem Center. They have a cartoon that shows them toppling part of the security barrier on top of a fat, sweaty, kipah-wearing Jew in an attempt to crush him to death.

Wouldn't it make more sense to expel the architect group that openly calls for murder? Is such bloodlust part of RIBA's professional standards?

Expelling the AAP would be far more effective in bringing peace. Because if RIBA and the IUA would demand that Palestinians act like adults, that they accept a two-state solution and true peace that includes allowing a Jewish state to exist, then they might not so flippantly publish cartoons and openly denounce "normalization," meaning accepting the other side as normal human beings.

It would be even better if world governments acted that way, instead of embracing the opposite, idiotic position of punishing the peaceful and honoring the hateful.
(h/t Elihu)


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