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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: Oct 17, 2017

Israeli Tourism Minister to Discuss Economic Crisis Facing Arab-Owned Hotels in Occupied Jerusalem

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The Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights (JCSER) has received from the Israeli Tourism Ministers Office Manager a reply to the Centers memo concerning the difficult economic situation faced by Palestinian owners of hotels in Occupied East Jerusalem. The reply informs JCSER lawyer Farid Mahajneh of the Tourism Ministers approval to hold a meeting between the Arab Hotel Association and representatives from the Tourism Ministry in order to discuss the situation and to identify solutions to the crisis.

 

In his memo to the Ministry of Tourism, sent last month, Mr. Mahajneh had included a detailed description of the hardships faced by the Arab hotel sector in East Jerusalem, due to the deteriorating economic situation. For example, an excerpt reads: Since the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, Arab-owned hotels in East Jerusalem have been going through a difficult economic crisis resulting from the current political situation in the county, which resulted in the closure of a number of hotels and declaration of bankruptcy. The memo cited the Municipalitys requests for high Arnona (property) taxes which may exceed a hotels income as a major contributing factor. During 2003, the Municipality refused to grant tax reductions. When hotel owners have been unable to pay the citys tax bills, the Municipality has undertaken legal procedures against them, in an attempt to force payment. This has only exacerbated the crisis and caused some owners to declare bankruptcy.

The memo was supported by important data about the situation of Palestinian-owned hotels, pointing to:

1) the huge difference between the financial situation of Arab hotels and that of their Israeli counterparts in West Jerusalem, which attract a far larger proportion of the tourist trade since foreign tourists may avoid Arab hotels for security reasons;

2) the huge subsidies and economic privileges provided by the Israeli government to Israeli hotels;

3) the fact that Arab hotels are not given such grants or tax reductions, thus hampering their development and the provision of services, despite the fact that they are in urgent need of renovation and rehabilitation.

The memo pointed to the 420 million shekels in financial aid to East Jerusalems Arab-owned hotels via long-term loans, which the Israeli Knesset approved in the beginning of 2003. To date, the government has failed to carry out the loans, on the grounds that the severe crisis will result in hotel owners failure to repay them.

Last July, the Arab Hotel Association sent a memo to Israeli Interior Minister Abraham Boraz asking to discuss the situation with him, in the hope of identifying ways to improve the situation. He replied two months later, stating, Granting Arnona tax reduction is the responsibility of the Municipality, and our Ministry thinks that there is no need to interfere.