Gunmen fired shots at a hotel on Monday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem for displaying Jewish symbols in one of its meeting halls.
Palestinian social media users claimed that the Bethlehem Hotel was preparing to host a group of Jews for the Sukkot holiday, exhibiting the Jewish Star of David and a menorah, a symbol of the Jewish people and Judaism.
They further accused the hotel and the West Bank’s governing Palestinian Authority (PA) of “promoting normalization” with Israel.
No one was injured in the shooting.
The PA’s Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said on Facebook that it closed the meeting hall and launched an investigation into the claims that the hotel was preparing to host a Jewish celebration.
Elias al-Arja, the owner of the hotel, denied the claims, telling the Palestinian radio station Mawwal that a group of tourists from the Philippines was preparing to hold a Christian religious conference in the meeting hall.
“I was surprised to see that they installed the Star of David. I removed it and told them that they are not permitted to hold the conference in my hotel. I don’t want any problems,” al-Arja said.
He added that those who leaked the photos of the hall want to “destroy” the city.
“We don’t allow Jews to come here. We never held parties for Jewish holidays. The event was organized by a church from the Philippines,” he urged.
A statement by Fatah, the leading political faction in the West Bank, condemned the attempt to hold a “Zionist party” in the hotel, dubbing it a “stab to Bethlehem and a betrayal of the traditions and values of the Holy Land.”
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.