Home / Action Alert: Tell the UK government not to rent Tel Aviv Embassy from settlement-builder Leviev

Action Alert: Tell the UK government not to rent Tel Aviv Embassy from settlement-builder Leviev

From: Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, the village of Bil’in, the village of Jayyous, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Boycott National Committee,[1]Adalah-NY, and Jews Against the Occupation

September 10, 2008 – The UK Guardian’s Comment Is Free posted an article on September 9, The wrong message to Israel, by Abe Hayeem, a founding member of Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine, calling on the UK government to revoke plans to rent its new embassy in Tel Aviv from Israeli-settlement mogul Lev Leviev. The UK’s plan to rent space for the embassy from Leviev’s company Africa Israel was reported on July 29 in the Israeli financial journal Globes. Please contact the UK’s Embassy in Tel Aviv, UK Consulate in Jerusalem, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State for the Middle East (contact info below) and demand that they take a firm stand against Israeli settlements and not reward Leviev with UK taxpayers’ money.

Abe Hayeem’s article notes:

“When Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown, visited Ramallah in mid-July, he told the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas: ‘We want to see a freeze on settlements. Settlement expansion has made peace harder to achieve. It erodes trust, it heightens Palestinian suffering, it makes the compromises Israel needs to make for peace more difficult.’”

“In that case, the decision by the British government to rent space for our new embassy in Tel Aviv from the Africa-Israel Investments company chaired by businessman Lev Leviev sends precisely the wrong message.”

“Leviev, a Russian-Israeli real estate and diamond billionaire who recently became a UK resident, is also a major settlement builder. Danya Cebus, a subsidiary of Leviev’s Africa-Israel group, has built homes in three West Bank settlements – Mattityahu East, Har Homa, and Ma’ale Adumim.”

“Additionally, Leviev is a major donor to the Land Redemption Fund (LRF), which is affiliated with the radical fundamentalist Gush Emunim settler movement. The LRF uses highly questionable methods to secure Palestinian land for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in clear violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva convention.”

“The settlement of Mattityahu East along with Israel’s wall, which was built mostly inside the occupied West Bank to grab land for settlements, seizes 50% of the village of Bil’in’s land, including olive groves that its residents have relied on for centuries. Leviev’s Zufim settlement, again along with Israel’s Wall, seizes as much as two-thirds of the village of Jayyous’ agricultural land and six wells, effectively annexing one of the West Bank’s most fertile agricultural zones. Since 2002, residents of Bil’in and Jayyous have held more than 250 nonviolent protests, with the support of Israeli and international activists, in an effort to save their land….”

“Rewarding Leviev with the contract for our new embassy shows that Her Majesty’s government is not serious about stopping Israeli settlements. Rather than mouthing admirable but empty platitudes about freezing settlements, for the sake of all Israelis and Palestinians, let us apply serious sanctions to stop Israel expanding illegal settlements and the Wall, and take our business elsewhere.”

Please write and/or call the representatives of the UK government below, and demand that the UK not rent its embassy from Leviev. Oxfam and UNICEF have already rejected support from Leviev due to his companies’ settlement construction in violation of international law. Please send a copy of your message and/or information on your phone call to levievembassyalert@adalahny.org so that we can compile them all.

In the UK:

MP David Milliband, the Foreign Secretary: Phone: +44 (0)191 456 8910
Email: milibandd@parliament.uk and msu.correspondence@fco.gov.uk

MP Kim Howells, Minister of State for the Middle East: Phone: +44 (0)20 7270 1500
Email: howellsk@parliament.uk

In Tel Aviv:

UK Ambassador Tom Phillips: Phone: +972 (0)3 725 1222 Fax: +972 (0)3 527 8574
Email: webmaster.telaviv@fco.gov.uk

In Jerusalem

Consul-General: Richard Edward Makepeace: Phone: +972-(0)2-541-4100/41 Fax: +972-(0)2-532-2368 / +972-2-541-4157
Email: britain.jerusalem@fco.gov.uk

[1] Members of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee are: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Arab Community Based Associations (ITTIJAH); Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative; General Union of Palestinian Women; Union of Palestinian Farmers; Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ), and the Coalition for Jerusalem.