Palestinians condemn Israeli demolition of historic hotel in Jerusalem

13:52, January 10, 2011      

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by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

The Palestinians on Sunday had largely condemned the Israeli authorities' demolition of a historic hotel in Sheikh Jarah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, which Israelis and the Palestinians have been disputing over the ownership.

The Israeli authorities is planning to replace the ancient Shepherd Hotel in the eastern part of the city occupied by Israel in 1967, with a building of two stores to settle Jewish families, according to Israeli media reports. However, the Palestinians consider the hotel a symbol of their presence in the city.

Spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rdeineh said in a statement released by the state-run news agency Wafa that it is not Israel's right "to build new buildings in any part of east Jerusalem or the territories occupied by Israel in 1967."

"Israel is carrying out many measures, mainly demolition and settlement in Jerusalem. These measures would undermine all the efforts to push forward the stalled peace process," the statement said, adding "by carrying out this measure, the possibility of resuming the talks has been destroyed."

Meanwhile, the executive committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said in a press statement that Israel's decision to demolish Shepherd Hotel "is part of its plans to change the features and the characteristics of the city of Arab Jerusalem."

"This Israeli policy will never affect the legal status of East Jerusalem, the capital of the future Palestinian state," said the PLO statement, adding that the Palestinians plan to file to the UN Security Council against settlement constructions.

The PLO warned that the escalated Israeli aggression against the Palestinians "will drag the whole region to a new wave of violence and blood shedding, adding that "Israel is planning to mix up the situation to escape from international pressures and isolation."

The Palestinians said that the location of the hotel was the headquarters of Jerusalem's Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. Until 1980, the property was under the responsibility of the absentees authorities. However, it was then sold to the Jewish-American millionaire Erving Muscovites.

In July 2009, the municipality of Jerusalem issued licenses for building 20 housing units in the area where the hotel locates, claiming that Muscovites moved the ownership of the hotel to the far-right Jewish Association of Atirat Kohanim.

The Fatah movement led by President Mahmoud Abbas said in a press statement that demolishing the hotel and building up new settlement units "show the Israeli government's insistence to challenge the international community and the related resolutions. "

The deposed prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya called on Arab countries to hold an urgent Arab summit to study the ongoing Israeli measures in Jerusalem.

"In this particular time, Jerusalem is passing through a critical phase. Such measures in the city are aiming at uprooting its Islamic and Arab characteristics," Haneya said on Sunday in Gaza after meeting the members of a Libyan aid convoy.

Source: Xinhua
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