This afternoon Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel was ‘making progress’ with attempts to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October.
Following a meeting of the UIA Council in Paris on 7-8 November, the union adopted a motion ‘reinforcing the Union’s commitment to the UIA preamble, condemning the targeting of civilian population in wars, deploring the urban and environmental destruction with appalling consequences on civilian populations, and pledging to assist them in the reconstruction and restoration of residential and public facilities’.
Expressing ‘solidarity with all those suffering from the conflict’, the union has committed to ‘advance peace, sustainable development and human rights as well as to respect human dignity and architectural heritage’.
It also called for ‘continuous, sufficient and unhindered’ provision of life-saving supplies and services for civilians trapped inside the enclave.
The UIA has said it ‘strongly condemns the ongoing conflict that has caused an unprecedented number of civilian casualties’, including women and children.
More than 13,300 people in Gaza have been killed in air and artillery strikes carried out by the Israeli military since Hamas launched the assault on Israel on 7 October, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 200 hostages.
The union, which operates in 131 countries and territories and represents more than 1.3 million architects worldwide, said it was ‘deeply concerned by the loss of innocent lives and the destruction of people’s homes, schools, hospitals and vital infrastructures’ in the area.
News of a possible deal has raised hopes of a pause in hostilities, which could see hostages freed – but a truce ‘is not the same as a ceasefire or an end to the war in Gaza’, the BBC reported.
Earlier today (21 November), the leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas said it was close to reaching a ‘truce agreement’ with Israel, the BBC reported.
In a statement, the UIA expressed ‘grave concern at the catastrophic situation’, and announced it was joining the United Nations General Assembly’s stance on the conflict.
In late October, the UN General Assembly called for an ‘immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce’ between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza.
The UIA is the only global architecture organisation recognised by a number of United Nations agencies, including UNESCO, UNIDO, and the World Health Organization.