Palestinians shoot up Bethlehem hotel after Jewish symbols found inside

The hotel owner denied hosting a Sukkah party, saying, “We don’t allow Jews to come here.”  

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Palestinian gunmen on Monday fired shots at a hotel in Bethlehem for displaying Jewish symbols in one of its meeting halls.

The upper floors were damaged but there were no injuries.

Palestinian social media users claimed that the Bethlehem Hotel was preparing to host a group of Jews for the Jewish Sukkot holiday, and charged the hotel with “promoting normalization” with Israel by having a menorah and Star of David on display.

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the closure of the meeting hall and said it had launched an investigation into the incident.

Elias al-Arja, the owner of Bethlehem Hotel, denied the charge that Jews were staying in his hotel. According to al-Arja, a group of tourists from the Philippines had asked to use the meeting hall during an eight-day sojourn at the hotel for a party.

“I was surprised to see that they installed the Star of David,” al-Arja told the Palestinian radio station Mawwal. “I removed it and told them that they are not permitted to hold the conference in my hotel. I don’t want any problems.”

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The hotel owner said that the guests who leaked a video from the meeting hall want to “defame” his hotel and “destroy” the city.

“We don’t allow Jews to come here,” al-Arja said. “We never held parties for Jewish holidays. The event was organized by a church from the Philippines.”

Several balaclava-clad gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah faction, arrived at the scene after the shooting alongside PA authorities.

“We won’t allow anyone to hold any suspicious party,” one of the gunmen told reporters. “We will strike with an iron fist against anyone who holds a normalization meeting, whether in Bethlehem or any other part of the homeland. The revolution will continue until the liberation of all the Palestinian lands.”

A statement issued by Fatah in Bethlehem condemned the attempt to hold a “Zionist party” in the hotel, deeming it a “stab to Bethlehem and a betrayal of the traditions and values of the Holy Land.”