The reopening of the Oasis Casino hotel in the West Bank draws mixed reactions

Posted: February 17, 2022, 8:54 a.m.

Last update: February 17, 2022, 8:54 a.m.

For nearly 20 years, the casino at the Oasis Hotel in the West Bank has kept its doors closed. Jericho Casino may be reopening soon, but not everyone is looking forward to it.

Hotel Casino Oasis
The gaming room at the Oasis Hotel Casino in Jericho is empty. Local media reports that the Palestinian Authority and Israel have discussed the possibility of reopening the casino. (Image: Casinos Austria)

The Oasis Hotel is in the hotly contested West Bank, an area that is constantly the target of fighting between Israel and Palestine. When the Second Intifadaa Palestinian uprising against Israel, happened in 2020, the casino closed.

Breathing new life into the old casino

After almost 22 years, the once-popular international destination may be reopening, according to The post of Jerusalem. Citing information from a local news channel, the outlet reports that Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have discussed the possibility of reviving the resort.

If true, that would be great news. I saw something on Facebook about the casino, but I don’t know if it’s true. We hope tourists, including Israelis, will come to Jericho,” said a security guard at the Oasis Hotel.

There is still a lot of work to do before moving forward. Even if the casino, run by Casinos Austria, reopens, Israelis may not be welcome at first. The casino is in Jericho, which is under the control of the PA.

In the past, up to 6,000 Israelis visited the casino every day. If it reopened without this segment, it would be left without a significant source of revenue. However, the outlet claims that Palestinian sources have confirmed that talk of restarting the casino has become more common lately.

Local governor denies talk of casino

Although it confirmed the possibility of a reopening of the casino with Palestinian sources, the AP keeps its distance. PA Governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, Jihad Abu al-Asal, said he was not consulted on conversations between the two sides.

The governor believes there are bigger issues to resolve before talks about reopening the casino can begin. Specifically, he wants to see more progress in the peace talks and a halt to Israeli “incursions and aggressions”.

He said, “First, we want the situation to be more positive and stable in Jericho. It would be problematic to reopen the casino as long as the security situation is unstable. To reopen the casino, you need security and stability. I don’t want to see the casino reopen as the Israeli army continues to launch daily incursions.

Abu al-Asal is not alone either. The Jerusalem Post highlights a number of people in the local community who, although they may host the casino, will not host Israelis. One individual called it a “crazy idea”. Another warned that, like the ongoing conflict between the two sides, there would be a new uprising if Israelis were allowed to visit the casino.

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