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Palestinian architects and professionals urge RIBA to stand firm against Israel lobby

More than 200 Palestinian architects, planners and building professionals have written to Royal Institute of British Architects president Stephen Hodder in support of a motion supporting the suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (IUA).

After RIBA, the professional body for UK architects, voted in favour of the motion in March, Israel's supporters began applying pressure to prevent the motion reaching debate the UIA assembly. According to reports, the UIA has assured the IAUA that the motion will not be on the agenda of the forthcoming gathering South Africa.

The Palestinian signatories write: "if these press reports are true, our fear is that the democratic voice of RIBA Council members is being squashed by an influential lobby that is acting in conjunction with some of the RIBA's highest officials, who are therefore behaving in an unethical manner."

The letter stresses the responsibility of RIBA and UIA to help address a situation of injustice in architecture and building, and hold to account the professional institution of any member country of the UIA where its members continue to involve themselves in practices aiding war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

"The UIA has a chance to show its moral and professional integrity, and this should not be thrown away", the Palestinian professionals conclude. "We therefore call on the RIBA Council to stay firm in regard to the noble and moral position it is taking. We also urge you to consider this as an emergency motion to be tabled on the main agenda of the General Assembly."

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