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YNet News | July 4, 2008

International Architects' Union to boycott Israel?

The International Architects' Union (UIA) may adopt a proposal Saturday to boycott Israeli architects and expel them from the organization over their involvement in the construction of settlements in the territories.

The union, comprised of more than 1 million architects from 116 countries worldwide, is holding its annual World Architecture Congress in Turine, Italy, with 8,500 participants from across the world.

The boycott was initiated by a group of architects, mostly British, as well as several Israeli, Palestinian and Arab architects.

The group submitted a proposal to expel Israel from the UIA, stating that the Israeli architects are lending a hand to violations of international law by helping build residential units in the settlements and on confiscated Palestinian lands.

According to the proposal, which will be discussed by the organization's general assembly on Saturday, "These activities constitute a violation of professional ethics and of the organization's treaty. Through the (settlement) construction, Israeli architects are serving the occupation and perpetuating it."

The proposal goes on to say that Israel's architects are helping the Israeli government advance a policy similar to South Africa's past apartheid policy, and are "building" the infrastructure of occupation.

Architect Yitzhak Lipovetzky-Lir, the Israel Architects Association's representative at the conference, has been working vigorously over the past few days to thwart the boycott initiative.

Lipovetzky said that the Israeli association was extremely worried by the proposal, fearing it would eventually be adopted by the congress.

"This means Israeli architects won't be able to attend all of the organization's activities worldwide, including conventions and competitions, and cooperate with UN institutions. This will definitely place a black stain on Israeli architects," he said. "It will harm our international ties and our ability to work abroad.",7340,L-3563988,00.html

Posted on 04-07-2008

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