Jerusalem in Middle East is
regarded as sacred by Muslims, Christians and Jews
Israel admits organ harvesting from dead
Israel has admitted that it harvested
organs from the dead bodies of Palestinians and Israelis in the
1990s, without permission from their families. The admission follows
the release of an interview.....
'US backing to Israel reason for the Middle-East
(Jerusalem): The beds have been freshly made. In the
lobby, the waiters have set the coffee tables nicely. In the
kitchen, the cooks are preparing meat balls in a tomato sauce. At
the reception desk, Fakhre Alame stands ready to welcome guests -
even though the young man in the snow-white shirt knows that nobody
is coming. Not today, not tomorrow, just as has been the case for
the past 42 years.
It must be one of the most unique
cases anywhere in the Middle East: a hotel without a name and with
no guests. It has 60 rooms, services ranging from the kitchen to
in-house cleaners - and above all, an incredible history.
The chronicle begins with the highest
praise when the hotel was opened May 10, 1967. The late King Hussein
of Jordan himself was on hand and 18 cooks served up dishes for 300
guests. The tables were weighed down with 750 kg of meat and 200 kg
“The hotel was meant to be an
investment in the future,” recalls Masri Tammimi. The profits were
to go to help finance the schooling of Palestinian and Jordanian
youngsters in a private vocational school affiliated to the hotel.
The learning institute still exists to this day and Tammimi is its
By contrast, however, the dream of a
successful hotel was already over a month after the royal banquet.
“The Six-Day War began,” Tammimi said,
referring to the June 1967 conflict between Israel and its
neighbours. “The 22 German teachers left the school.”
In their wake, Israeli officers came
knocking on the door. “The school stands atop a hill and from a
military viewpoint it was significant because from there you can
observe the entire area all the way to Jerusalem,” the principal
explained. “We asked the German government to protect the school.”
This did help matters and the
connection with Germany has since then never been interrupted. The
German development aid agency currently supports the project,
providing two training personnel and expert consulting.
And what became of the hotel? Within
viewing distance there is an airport - but after the Israeli
occupation all the Arab businessmen and tourists which the hotel’s
founders had been counting on never came. Tammimi as a result toyed
with the idea over and over again of converting it into a hospice
for less-affluent guests.
“But this was only a beautiful dream,”
he admits. For one thing, he could never meet the tax office’s
estimated tax of some $50,000 - per month. And for another, there is
the dividing wall, set up by Israel and cutting the West
Bank-situated hotel off from its Palestinian hinterland.
And now, in the midst of a large
Israeli industrial area, the school complex atop the hill is today
the last Palestinian bastion.
What is left remaining of the original
hotel project is not only a venue with a grand view from the
roof-top terrace. The four-storey hotel without a name has also been
converted by the owners into an apprenticeship hotel. At the moment
54 young Palestinians - all men - are learning the hotel profession
from the ground up.
“We must offer good service and
good-quality meals,” says chief trainer Anwar al-Shamasnoa.
“Tourists will only return if the quality is good.”
And so the cooks prepare their own
meals and test the result of their meatballs in tomato sauce. In
five fully-equipped hotel rooms, the young men of the room service
learn how to fold the bedsheets precisely. In the lobby,
smartly-dressed waiters serve tea and cakes.
And at the reception desk, 16-year-old
Fakhre Alame, his hair freshly gelled, practices a beaming smile for
some later time when he’s on duty at a real hotel.