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Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15

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Today: Aug 17, 2017

Memo Sent to Israeli Ministries & Institutions: Urgent Call for Financial Aid to Arab-owned Hotels

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The Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights (JCSER) has sent a memo to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of the Interior, the Mayor of the Jerusalem Municipality, and the Director General of the Municipality and its Advisor. The memo called on the ministries and departments to provide urgent financial aid to Arab-owned hotels in Occupied East Jerusalem, in parallel with aid provided to their Israeli counterparts in West Jerusalem. Israeli hotels are being supported through a variety of economic measures, which the Israeli Knesset approved in the beginning of 2003. At this time, 420 million shekels in aid to East Jerusalems Arab-owned hotels were also approved on an urgent basis, but the aid has not been received.

The memo, which was sent by JCSERs lawyer, Farid Mahajneh, explains the difficult economic situation faced by the Arab-owned hotels in East Jerusalem. They suffer from a drop in income and a lack of resources in return for the high amounts of Arnona (property) taxes paid to the Municipality. Roads, sidewalks, parks and other public amenities are in poor condition or absent altogether.

The memo also pointed to the deterioration in internal tourism as it affects Arab-owned hotels, and to the policy adopted by Israeli institutions toward tourism in Occupied Jerusalem. Actions, which instigate a drop in tourism, include Israels practice of advising citizens and foreign tourists against visiting East Jerusalem, preventing foreign aid and donations, and failing to grant tax reductions to Arab-owned hotels, despite the fact that most of the hotels are facing very difficult conditions and are in urgent need of renovation and rehabilitation.

In his memo, Mr. Mahajneh reminded the relevant ministries and institutions of the Israeli Knessets 2003 decision to provide financial aid to Arab-owned hotels. Although 420 million shekels in aid was approved, Arab hotels have not received one shekel of the aid. Israeli banks, in which the money was deposited, refused to give the hotel-owners loans or grants to improve the situation of their hotels and to rescue them from the danger of closure, the note stated.

The memo was supported by data from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, which show the level of crisis facing the Arab hotel sector in East Jerusalem in comparison with that of the West Jerusalem.

The figures provided show the following during the month of March 2003:
  • The number of hotel rooms in West Jerusalem amounted to 6,754 compared to 1,929 in East Jerusalem;
  • Of the 170,800 tourists who arrived in Jerusalem, some 161,200 tourists stayed at Israeli-owned hotels, and 9,600 in Arab-owned hotels;
  • Among the 170,800 were some 73,100 tourists from North America; 71,100 stayed at Israeli-owned hotels and 2,000 in Arab-owned hotels;
  • Some 2,200 tourists who arrived from South America stayed at Israeli-owned hotels;
  • Israeli hotels absorbed some 27,500 out of 31,600 tourists from Europe, and 12,800 out of 15,100 from other parts of the world;
  • Out of 48,800 Israeli tourists, 47,500 stayed at Israeli hotels in West Jerusalem and 1,300 in Arab-owned hotels in East Jerusalem.
The memo included a number of requests:1) To hold an urgent meeting with ministerial and municipal officials to discuss the situation of the Arab hotels;2) To provide the Center with information about Arnona tax reduction programmes to the Arab hotels in East Jerusalem;3) To examine the possibility of making changes in the law in favor of these hotels;4) To examine the possibility of changing the way in which the municipal Arnona tax is calculated;5) To give the Arab hotels the right to obtain financial aid of the grant approved by the Israeli Knesset last year.