Abe Hayeem: Help the campaign to save Lifta

9 February 2011

Yitzhak Lipovetsky, President
Israeli Association of United Architects
13, Hamigdalor Street
Tel Aviv/Jaffa 68037

Dear Yitzhak Lipovetsky

Please help the campaign to save Lifta

You may be aware that there has been on ongoing campaign to save Lifta, which has become known within Israel and internationally as a quintessential Palestinian village, one of the few of the 500 villages that had not been completely destroyed by Israeli forces in the war of 1948. Lifta is celebrated as part of a beautiful landscape of ruins, loved by walkers and nature enthusiasts, but remembered primarily by its original inhabitants many of whom live nearby but have never been allowed to return.

Numerous organisations, especially BIMKOM, Zochrot and FAST have lobbied for the village to be listed by UNESCO as a heritage site, as a symbol of reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis, and for alternative plans they have formulated with the Land and Housing Research Centre. Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine in 2005 placed an advertisement in the Times, signed by over 350 architects and planners worldwide, many of them eminent figures including academics, to help save Lifta for its original Palestinian inhabitants.  http://apjp.org/saving-lifta-a-case-against-a/ . Esther Zandberg in Haaretz has again written a moving plea for the village to be symbolically returned to those who were forcibly removed from there, instead of building 212 luxury apartments that will be bought only by Jewish people, in the proposed decade-long project (plan number 6036) that the Israel Land Administration wishes now to commence. This is all on expropriated Palestinian land. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/the-lifta-that-never-will-be-1.340964

As with the campaigns against the projects in East Jerusalem for the City of David and the King’s Garden in Silwan, we have written to your Association on various occasions to ask you to refute and help stop these projects since they involve deep injustices to the Palestinians, (either citizens of Israel, or in the occupied territories), are contrary to international law and the Geneva Conventions, but more importantly are against professional ethics that are particularly needed in countries with whole sections of their populations that are being imprisoned and discriminated against by government policy as a people.

Despite international agreements, numerous UN resolutions and EU Commission reports against them, before the founding of the Israeli state in 1948 and since 1967, Israeli architects have continued to help build settlements and towns illegal under international law on expropriated Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories including annexed East Jerusalem. Israel’s discriminatory architectural and planning projects have accelerated daily, with thousands of dwellings and public facilities being built for Jewish citizens only, forcing the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and land, and the destruction of their civic life, culture and national rights. This has prevented any just solution for establishing a Palestinian state, and an end to the house demolitions, evictions, and land theft that has so enraged the democratic world. Much of the work of Israeli architects can be construed as participation in war crimes, as has been described in ‘Hollow Land’ by Eyal Weizman.

These activities are in clear vio­lation of the code of ethics of the International Union of Architects (UIA), (article 3) which says that “there shall be no attempt to impose solutions of one society on other societies” (article 1:2) and that professionals shall fashion an environment “expressive of the genius of the people and reflective of the substance of their culture”). Principle 2 says: “Architects have obligations to the public to embrace the spirit and letter of the laws governing their professional affairs, and should thoughtfully consider the social and environmental impact of their professional activities.”

The UIA in Brazil on 31 July 2009 reaffirmed Resolution 13 at the UIA Assembly of July 2005 in Istanbul, “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”.

Our attempts at dialogue with the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) have brought no change. The IAUA has shown total detachment from these practices by its members, and maintains it cannot get involved with their work. Surely you must see that this is an untenable and unacceptable state of affairs. Yet the IAUA eagerly sought to reinstate its membership of the UIA last July 2010.

Surely now is the most critical time for the IAUA to have the courage to consider what is morally and ethically unacceptable and help to oppose the ILA’s plans for Lifta, (and all such projects) and to take to task the architects who are carrying such plans forward, as proposed by ARC in 2009 < http://apjp.org/israeli-architects-stop-design/>. It can be shown that even though Lifta is within Israel, building on land owned by Palestinian refugees is intrinsically illegal. The 1947 United Nations partition plan declared Jerusalem a corpus separatum, a separate body, to be run under an international UN administration. That is still its only internationally recognised status.

Further the Palestinian refugees have a right to return to their homes. In the specific case of the Palestinians, this right was affirmed by the United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948, and has been reaffirmed repeatedly by that same body, and has also been recognized by independent organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
The U.S. government supported Resolution 194, and voted repeatedly to affirm it until 1993. Israel refuses to allow the refugees to return to villages, towns and cities inside Israel due to their ethnic, national and religious origin, nor to build for their sevenfold population expansion.

Although Israel has so far refused to recognize this right, all refugees have an internationally recognized right to return to areas from which they have fled or were forced out, to receive compensation for damages, and to either regain their properties or receive compensation and support for voluntary resettlement. This right derives from a number of legal sources, including customary international law, international humanitarian law (governing rights of civilians during war), and human rights law. The United States government has forcefully supported this right in recent years for refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and elsewhere.

This would be a wonderful opportunity for Israel, as an act of reconciliation, to cancel Plan 6036, and to allow the many alternative projects for Lifta to be considered for implementation, ones that involve the Lifta people. The IAUA can gain some credibility and approval by backing such projects, that do not involve the erasure of Palestinian history and humanity.

We look forward to hearing from you what you plan to do to help such an alternative project to come to fruition. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4462.shtml

Yours sincerely

Abe Hayeem, RIBA
Chair, APJP and on behalf of all the signatories attached.

[To add your signature , email: info@apjp.org]

E1-Lifta-Silwan Petition Signatories 2005
The Times Ad and ongoing signatures


Acting against international law, Israel continues to build illegal settlements on Palestinian territory. Israeli architects and planners have helped build settlements and towns on appropriated Palestinian land. Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) assert that the actions of Israeli architects and planners working in conjunction with this enterprise, are unethical, and contravene professional codes of conduct and UIA codes. It is time to challenge the IAUA and the Israeli government to end such projects. We have launched a petition to highlight 3 projects that typify the appropriation of Palestinian land aided by Israeli architects and other design professionals:

In Silwan 88 Palestinian homes are under threat of demolition. This is part of a development for ultra-religious Israeli settlers on illegally annexed Palestinian land.

The E1 Plan expands the largest illegal settlement, Ma’ale Adumim, to link it with metropolitan Jerusalem; it will dissect the northern and southern West Bank, destroying the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Support the campaign to save Lifta, the ruins of a Palestinian village, from being converted into a Jewish only luxury development, to the exclusion of the original Palestinian inhabitants, their heritage and memory.

We call on the Israeli Association of United Architects to adhere to UIA Codes of Conduct, and end the participation of their members and fellow professionals in creating ‘facts on the ground’ to obliterate the idea of a viable future Palestinian state.

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 Former President, 2005-2007 UK. Pringle Brandon

Sunand Prasad: RIBA President, 2007-2009, Principal Penoyre Prasad Architects, UK

Eva Jiricna: Principal Jiricna Architects, UK

Rick Mather: Principal Rick Mather Architects, UK

Eyal Weizman: Author ‘A Civilan Occupation’, “Hollow Land”,  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: BIMKOM, Israel. (E1, Silwan)

Haifa Hammami: Architect, APJP Secretary, UK

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

Professor Uri Davis: Al Quds University, PA,  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

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

Alon Cohen Lifshitz: BIMKOM, Israel

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, U

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

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein: ICAHD

Georgeann B. Burns 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

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

Phil Gusack: Architect, 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

Omar Qattan: Qattan Foundation, UK

Kate Mackintosh: Architect, UK

Walter Hain: Architect, UK

John Murray: Architect, UK

Mayyad Bader, Architect, Australia, Palestine

David Berridge: Architect,UK

Sidney Bernstein: Architect

Prof David E. Pegg: York University

Erland Seilskkjaer: Architect, Norway

Frank de Marco: Architect UK

Yara Sharif: PhD, Architect,UK, Palestine

Prof. Nasser Golzary: Golzary Architects

Francesca Viceconti: Architect, Italy

Martin O’Shea: Architect, UK

Salim Jaleel: Architect, UK

Michael Gwilliam: Planner, UK

Clive Jones: Architect, UK

Mike Macrae: Architect, UK

Michael Goulden: Architect, Wales

Joanna Heilig: Architect, Sweden

Ahmad Barclay, PhD, Cardiff University

David Yeaman: Architect, UK

Reuven Rosenfelder, Israel

Sharon Rosenfelder, Israel.

Anne Markey: Architect, London Metropolitan University

Joanna Chambers: Planner, UK

Jeremy Dain: Architect, UK

Malcolm Hecks: Architect, France

Kelvin Bland: Architect, UK

Joe Lynes: Engineer & 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

Prof. Terry Meade: Architect, Brighton University, UK

Martin Crookston: Architect, UK

Alan Arnstein: Architect, UK

Tarek Ragheb: Architect, UK

Gil Doron: Artist, UK/Israel

Nicholas Wood: Architect UK/South Africa

Sarah Wood, UK

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: RIWAQ Architect

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

Neil Lambert, Architect, UK

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

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)

D. Alwan (E1)

Noor Maraqa

Yazan Salameh (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, Architect,Spain (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)

ياء م ى (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)

Edwin Jay Rutledge, Architect,UK

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, RIAI, Ireland PSC

Alaa Mandoor (E1)

Shorouq Al Jabari (Lifta)

Lilian Morgan (Silwan)

Olive Isidro-Cruze (Silwan)

Christina Isorina

Margaret Morgan (Silwan)

Edwin Jay Rutledge (Silwan)

Neil Lambert, Architect (Silwan)

Naomi Wimborne-Idrisi (Silwan)

Deborah Maccoby (Silwan)

Ruth Tenne (Silwan)

Ibrahim Moss (Silwan)

Peter Halpin,Architect, USA (Silwan)

Edd Lawrence (E1)

[To add your signature, email: info@apjp.org]

Back to Top

Readers are welcome to discuss IOA content on our Facebook page. To participate, please click HERE.