Israel demolishes historic hotel

Hotel Shepherd bulldozed to make way for new settlement despite global opposition to the move seen as obstacle to peace.
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2011 09:19 GMT
The new settlement will separate two Arab neighbourhoods, Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi al Joz [GALLO/GETTY]

Bulldozers have demolished a hotel in disputed east Jerusalem to make way for a new Israeli settlement, the latest in a wave of new buildings globally seen as an obstacle to the now stalled peace process.

The Shepherd Hotel was razed by three Israeli bulldozers, early on Sunday, as part of a plan to build a new settlement of 20 units in the heart of the occupied city.

The hotel is located on the demarcation line between two Arab neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi al-Joz. The site will not only divide the two neighbourhoods but it will also change the aspects of Jerusalem.

According to official documents, the hotel was owned by al-Quds Mufti, Haj Amin al-Hussaini, who was deported by the British rule in 1937. He later died in Lebanon in 1974.

The Israeli government has granted permission to begin work on the settlement, despite Washington’s opposition to it.

The Shepherd Hotel project is funded by Irving Moskowitz, a Jewish-American millionaire and a longtime patron of Jewish settlers.

‘No negotiations’

It has drawn condemnation by Palestinians. They say that the historical hotel is owned by them and it was taken over by Israel occupation forces after 1967 and sold to Jewish-American millionaire.

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator has said that Palestinians would not negotiate with Israel as long as such moves continued.

“As long as this government continues with settlement and acts like [it did with] the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel there will not be negotiations”

There has been no progress in peace talks as Palestinians refuse to negotiate without an Israeli settlement freeze that includes east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital.

Israel’s plans to demolish the hotel created a diplomatic dispute with the US in 2009.

The step is likely to spark protests by Palestinians as well as cause a negative affect on the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

Al Jazeera and agencies

Israel demolishes historic hotel – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.



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