Haaretz, Dec 16, 2016

People outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, December 2016. Alex Levac

Possibly the saddest place in town is the place where we stayed last weekend: the Jacir Palace Hotel, formerly the Intercontinental, the ostensible crown jewel of all of Bethlehem’s hotels. A stone compound with a fine, ornamental façade, this expansive hotel has a large swimming pool, plenty of public spaces, ballrooms and conference halls, suites and executive rooms, cafes, bars and restaurants – and it’s one big wasteland. Long, mute corridors that lead nowhere, spaces long unused. A five-star hotel with more than 200 rooms, deteriorating.

<pThere’s nothing more disheartening than an empty hotel. There were only three other guests at the Jacir Palace besides us: a Palestinian from Ramallah and an Arab couple from Haifa. The breakfast buffet was abundant, but the tables around it were deserted.