Architecture and design labor are tools which can be employed toward domination and destruction, or in the service of liberation. For more than 73 years, the Israeli state has deployed an architecture of oppression and apartheid to displace, surveil, control, starve, fracture, segregate and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people.
Over the past weeks we have witnessed the forced dispossession of residents in Sheikh Jarrah, the wholesale destruction of Gaza, and mass arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These recent events emphasize how carceral design and the weaponization of architecture are integral to the maintenance and expansion of Israel’s racist, settler colonial, imperialist project.
This violence and destruction are expressions of a highly militarized colonial power that has systematically worked towards the dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians from their land. The Israeli state’s architecture of apartheid works through the continuous expansion of illegal settlements, the forced removal of families from homes, punitive house demolitions, discriminatory planning and permit policies, crippling blockades on Gaza, and restrictions on movement throughout the West Bank.
Wherever there is apartheid, there are those who design and build its physical realities. As architectural workers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK, The Architecture Lobby stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel’s apartheid policies and settler colonial spatial practices. We commit to advancing decolonization, decarceration, and racial and economic justice in Palestine and at home.
The struggle for Palestine is not separate from the return of lands to Native, First Nations and Aboriginal people or reparations for Black Americans. From Ferguson, Minneapolis and Louisville, to the immigration detention centers of South Texas, to Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Gaza — white, ethno-nationalist settler colonial violence shapes our world in profound ways.
- Refuse to participate in the design and construction of the Israeli settler colonial project, or any project that props up the military and prison industrial complex in Palestine, the U.S. and beyond.
- Advance the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign.
- Urge architectural workers based in the United States to contact their representatives and express support for HR 2590, proposing to revoke the State of Israel’s ‘blank check’ from the US government.
- Urge other architectural and urban planning professional organizations and student groups to join us in signing this statement, authored by Architects and Planners Against Apartheid.
- Collaborate and build coalitions with BIPOC-led organizations advancing abolitionist and decolonial struggles wherever T-A-L chapters are organizing.
- Deepen our understanding of #landback, movements for reparations, and their implications for our work as organizers and architects.
We encourage readers of this statement to check out this list of additional resources, brought together by our members:
The (In)Human Spatial Condition: A Visual Essay by Ariella Azoulay
Palestinans Built Israel, by Andrew Ross
The Funambulist Issue 27: Learning With Palestine
“Jerusalem: Dismantling Phantasmagorias, Constructing Imaginaries”, Nora Akawi, in The Funambulist: Militarized Cities
Nothing to Lose But Your Life, by Suad Amiry
Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, Raja Shehadeh
White City, Black City: Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Sharon Rotbard
The Next Jerusalem, Michael Sorkin
Against the Wall, Michael Sorkin
Open Gaza, Michael Sorkin
Hollow Land, Eyal Weizman
The Hundred Years War on Palestine, Rashid Khalidi