The Palestinian Engineers’ Association has written to the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to complain about the institution’s refusal to act on a “democratically decided motion” agreed at its last council meeting. The motion in question calls for the suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the profession’s International Union (of Architects – UIA).
Engineer Ahmed Edaily, the chair of the Palestinian body, urged RIBA’s Stephen Hodder “not to abandon the Palestinian voice in favour of the pro-Israeli lobby”. He has requested, as a matter of urgency, an opportunity to speak to the RIBA council members in person so that the matter may be tabled for discussion at the forthcoming general assembly of the UIA in Durban, South Africa.
“It is to our disappointment that you consciously insist on isolating any voices and messengers standing up for the motion,” wrote Edaily. “These constant attempts to emasculate the motion are unacceptable and contradict professional codes of conduct with regards to ethics.”
The establishment of a new RIBA “international committee” to look into the matter “sidesteps this important issue” as such a committee already exists within RIBA, Edaily added. He pointed out to Hodder that instead of taking a firm stand to ensure that the motion is tabled at the UIA meeting, RIBA has organised events with Israeli architects who are involved in illegal building projects in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, in breach of UIA ethical codes, international law and UN Resolutions.