Jayyous & Bil’in Implore Family over Atlantis Diamond Store with Settlement King (Click here for Arabic)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY, November 24, 2008 – As Lev Leviev’s diamonds went on sale in Dubai’s newly opened Atlantis hotel in the Levant jewelry store, owned by Palestinian-Moroccan Arif Bin Khadra, Adalah-NY released a letter today in Arabic and English from the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Jayyous imploring the Khadra family to end their relative’s partnership with Leviev. The Israeli billionaire’s companies are building settlements on the villages’ land. The September 27 letter from Bil’in and Jayyous said that Arif Bin Khadra’s Dubai business partnership with Leviev “betrays the Palestinian cause and is an insult to the sacrifices and pain of our people.”
The villages of Bil’in and Jayyous are awaiting a response to the letter that was delivered to leaders of the Khadra family in Damascus, Syria in late September. The letter requests the Khadra family “take a firm stand against your son’s betrayal of our people and against working in the service of the occupier that violates the rights of his people and appropriates their land.” The Khadra family is Palestinian, and said to number in the tens of thousands, spread throughout the Arab world, many as refugees from Palestine.
The letter notes Leviev’s companies’ construction of Zufim settlement on the village of Jayyous’ land, Mattityahu East settlement on Bil’in’s land, as well as the strategic settlements of Har Homa and Maale Adumim. Arif Ben Khadra, according to the villages’ letter, “effectively contributes to the campaign against our villages and aids the Israeli occupation” through his Dubai diamond partnership with Leviev. The letter adds, “It is shameful that the campaign by Palestinian and Jewish activists working to bar Leviev from entering Dubai’s markets to increase his profits and from building additional settlements is being undermined by your son, who spares no effort to facilitate Leviev’s access to consumers in Dubai.”
According to Stop the Wall, Leviev is currently expanding Zufim settlement by 45 housing units on Jayyous' land (see photo). Jayyous continues to hold non-violent protests against the confiscation of their land. Bil'in and Jayyous are known worldwide for their long nonviolent campaigns to prevent the construction of Israel's wall and Leviev's settlements on their land.
Adalah-NY posted on Thursday, the day of the opening of the Atlantis, photos of Leviev's jewelry in the windows of Bin Khadra's Levant store at the Atlantis, with Leviev's name and logo prominently shown in display cases, despite statements by United Arab Emirates officials that Leviev would receive no license to sell his jewelry there. Adalah-NY also noted unconfirmed reports that Leviev was to attend the opening of the Atlantis. Leviev's jewelry and logo are also featured at Bin Khadra's Levant store at the Al Qasr Hotel. Leviev notes these Dubai store locations on the door of his Madison Avenue boutique in New York, and on his webpage.
Prior to an advocacy campaign by Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation-NYC, Leviev had announced plans to open Dubai stores in partnership with Bin Khadra. Subsequently, in an April 30 article in Dubai's Gulf News, Ali Ebrahim, Deputy Director General for Executive Affairs in Dubai, said Leviev would not be allowed to open stores in Dubai or to sell through a local partner. Ebrahim asserted, "There are no loopholes."
UNICEF and Oxfam have both rejected Leviev's support due to his human rights violations. In a letter published in the UK's Guardian this Saturday, leading Palestinians, including Mustapha Barghouti, Hanan Ashrawi, and Sheikh Ikrimah Sabri, called on the British government to publicly reject a previously reported deal to rent their new Tel Aviv Embassy from Leviev.