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UK Guardian: Palestinian notables denounce UK-Leviev embassy deal

UK Guardian, letters section
Nov. 22, 2008

It is with great dismay that we learned of the British government’s plans to rent space for its new Tel Aviv embassy location from Lev Leviev’s company Africa-Israel. Africa-Israel builds Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Additionally, Leviev’s company Leader is building the settlement of Zufim. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

We welcome the recent decision by the British government to take action against Israeli settlements by cracking down on settlement exports. However, renting space for the embassy from a settlement-builder would send a contradictory message, signalling clear and active complicity with illegal settlement construction. It is this kind of international complicity that allows Israel to continue to violate international law with impunity, thereby eroding the credibility of international law at the global level and in relation to occupied Palestinian territory. The UK Foreign Office says no lease has been signed but provides no assurance that such a deal will not take place. We therefore call on the British government to publicly guarantee that it will not do business with settlement-builders such as Lev Leviev and his company Africa-Israel.

Hanan Ashrawi Palestinian legislative council, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti PLC, Atallah Hannah Archbishop of Sebastia, Khaleda Jarrar PLC, Hussam Khader PLC, Ikrimah Sabri Sheikh of al-Aqsa Mosque, Bethlehem