Should there be a boycott of Israel's construction industry?

The chairman of the Israel Architects' Association believes there should not be a boycott, but Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine do. Below they explain their reasons...
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The Independent Online

No there should not be a boycott of Israel

YITZHAK LIPOVETZKY-LIR (chairman of the Israel Architects' Association):

I am surprised that such well-known architects are taking such an extreme position at this time. This is not the proper moment to boycott Israel. People who believe in peace, as they do, should be trying to encourage dialogue and negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians.

I wonder why this group is acting now. The Government of Israel, which evacuated the Gaza Strip, is currently showing goodwill and trying to reach an agreement. The response has been the election of Hamas, which doesn't recognise Israel and is a terrorist organisation.

I wonder, if the future Palestinian Government will not recognise Israel and continues terror, with whom and how we're going to talk. British architects should be looking at how to bring the two sides together and continue the process that Israel started.

Our association has a lot of cooperation with Israeli Arab architects. We have NGOs, which contain planners, designers and architects who are trying to protect the rights of minorities. We also have relations with our Palestinian colleagues.

Yes there should be a boycott of Israel

ABE HAYEEM (co-ordinator of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine):

We challenge the ethical role of Israeli architects and planners and the construction industry in the Occupation. We help to reveal their shameful participation in planning and designing the illegal settlements and the infrastructure of domination and control. Politics and justice cannot be separated from buildings, culture and society.

Since nothing seems to deter Israel, and western governments remain silent, civil society has to pressure Israel and those creating the physical reality of these injustices that are the cause of such instability in the Middle East.

Possibilities for future action include targeting the use of Israeli products, materials and equipment in our building industry. We discussed it at the first meeting: people involved in major building projects could make sure that anything manufactured by Israel can be excluded in their contracts.

We will also be supporting the activities of Israeli and Palestinian architects and groups who are trying against enormous odds to rebuild demolished houses, or build integrated communities in "mixed" cities like Ramle and Acre where the original Palestinian inhabitants are refused permission to improve or expand their housing.

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