Last week, a group of sixty prominent British architects and planners has threatened to boycott the Israeli construction industry over the erection of the security fence and practices in the occupied territories. Following a meeting hosted at the offices of Lord Rogers, the architect behind the Millenium Dome and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine announced its plan to take action against Israel.
The Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (F.A.S.T.) welcomes the British Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine’s (APJP) call for a boycott of Israel’s construction industries. F.A.S.T. sees it as a personal and a professional responsibility to go out with a statement, responding to the British initiative.
On February 10, the Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine met at the London headquarter of Lord Rogers’ practice and condemned the illegal annexation of Palestinian land and the construction of the vast fence and concrete separation barrier running through the West Bank and Jerusalem. The group called for an economic boycott of Israeli construction industries in protest of the building of the settlements and the separation wall in the Occupied Palestinians Territories.
The group included Richard Rogers, Charles Jenckes and 60 other British architect and planners.
F.A.S.T. has been, for more than three years, developing projects which expose the intersection between planning and human rights in Israel/Palestine, analyzing the territorial conflict between the two nations, not only since the occupation of ‘67 but since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
In these three years, F.A.S.T. has unveiled serious involvement of professionals, especially architects and planners, in the implementation of ideological agendas of the Israeli government, turning the concept of segregation enshrined in abstract policies, into tangible physical shapes, walls, towns, forests, roads etc.
We see it as our professional and personal responsibility to fully support APJP’s call for a boycott and welcome the discussion on the role of Israeli architects and planners in sustaining the Israeli colonization of Palestinian land and civilian population, occupied in 1967.
In addition, F.A.S.T. calls for a comprehensive investigation into planning practices within Israel proper. The abuse of our profession by violent governmental agendas does not only exist in the occupied territories. Daily human right violations through an ideologically driven planning system are present in Israel as well. The extensive use of housing demolitions in order to prevent sustainability of Palestinians (Israeli-Arabs), the making of masterplans for new Jewish cities on top of non-Jewish ones, the introduction of territorial strangleholds in the shape of individual farms, military zones and national parks, all of these practices can be found in Israel. Identifying such practices could result in an extension of the boycott.
Boycotting a planning system which contributes to daily violations of human rights is a moral impediment.