Gush Shalom Supports UNICEF on Decision to Cut Ties to Leviev

Ann M. Veneman,
Executive Director of UNICEF

Dear Madam,

On behalf of Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, I would like to express our full support for your decision not to accept any further donations from Mr. Lev Levayev.

The Africa-Israel Buliding Coproration, owned by Mr. Levayev, is deeply involved in construction at the West Bank settlement of Modín Illit/Mattityahu East, erected on lands of Bilín and several other Palestinian villages which were either confiscated outright, ¨purchased¨ in highly shady land deals, and/or cut off from their owners by the so- called "Separation Fence".

For the Africa-Israeli Corporation - and hence, its owner, Levayev - this was a highly lucrative real estate deal, in which it acquired land for next to nothing and sold to settlers the appartments built on this land for hundreds of millions of dollars. For the Palestinian villagers involved, this meant the loss of the sole means of livelihood to hundreds of families, many of them with five children and more, and of course a very severe reduction in the care which these families could provide to their children and the future possibilities open to these children.

Hence, to accept the donations of Levayev, derived at least in part from the profits of the Africa-Israeli Corporation, would have meant to be in effect complicit in robbing one group of children in one country and using the proceeds for the benefit of other children in other countries - a manifestly immoral act which UNICEF was bound to avoid by the most basic of moral imperatives. I am glad that UNICEF did indeed take that decision.

Adam Keller
Spokesperson, Gush Shalom (The Israeli Peace Bloc)