A few days ago, an Israeli peace activist monitoring the situation on the West Bank noticed two large billboards placed at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, with a conspicuous British Airways logo. The ads bear mock London road signs with such place names as “Buckingham Palace”, “Hyde Park” etc. and underneath them an ad offering cheap flights to London.
I would like to point out the following:
1) Ariel is — according to international law — an illegal settlement, created on occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention (of which both Israel and your country are signatories) and which forbid an occupying power to settle its citizens in occupied territory.
2) The creation of Ariel and other West Bank settlements and their continued maintenance and extension is about the most hotly debated and controversial political subject in Israel. The majority wants to give up the settlements which take too high a price and endanger the country’s chance of ever reaching peace with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors.
3) The settlement of Ariel, where the British Airways billboards have been placed, is mentioned as the reason for an especially deep penetration of the “Separation Wall” into Palestinian territory — a matter which was taken up both by the US Government and by your country’s own Prime Minister Tony Blair. And it has even become more acute since it became part of the agenda of the World Court in the Hague.
Given the above, the placing of very conspicuous British Airways billboards at Ariel could be taken — even if that was not the original intention — as an endorsement by your company of a phenomenon which, to say the least, does not deserve endorsement. The placing of billboards at that particular location may alienate a large number of potential customers worldwide. It might, therefore, be advisable for your company to order the removal of said billboards. (Photos of them can be seen at http://gush-shalom.org/ariel).
Spokesperson, Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc)
Pob 2542, Holon 58125, Israel
Phone & Fax 972-3-5565804