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Palestinians push hotel to cancel conference with Jewish participants

Participants run past the the Walled-Off Hotel, Banksy's newly opened hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 31, 2017. [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Participants run past the the Walled-Off Hotel, Banksy's newly opened hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank on March 31, 2017. [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Palestinian activists fired warning shots at the Bethlehem Hotel on Monday, pushing it to cancel a conference with Jewish participants, Arab48.com has reported. The 11-storey hotel is located in the heart of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Pictures of one of its meeting rooms showing the Star of David and a menorah candle holder have been shared on social media and enraged local residents. Bullet holes now deface the hotel fa├žade, and a window was broken. The activists left the scene at the request of the Palestinian Authority security services.

Fatah's representative in Bethlehem said that the movement does not accept any events to be held in the Palestinian city if they are intended to normalise ties with the Israeli occupation. The Palestinian Ministry of Culture and local security services said that they would investigate the shooting incident.

"A group of guests were planning a Christian conference to be held on Thursday," explained hotel director Ilyas Al-Arja. "When the hotel staff found the Star of David [in the meeting room], they asked the organisers to remove it." He pointed out that the conference organisers are members of a Philippines church and they organise an international conference at the Bethlehem Hotel every year.

Al-Arja alleged that someone, who he did not name, took the picture of the meeting room and posted it on social media with the specific aim of inciting people against the hotel.

READ: Palestinian Authority deploys 1,500 security personnel in Bethlehem during Biden's visit

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