The Israeli Occupation (1967-Present)

The Israeli Army occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Knesset annexed East Jerusalem and started the ongoing Judization process. During that period, Jordan remained the guardian of Jerusalem and the West Bank and maintained some of its civil institutions. Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) positioned itself as the legal representative of the Palestinians after succeeding in gaining the support of the Palestinian people and making The Orient House in Jerusalem its central office for operations. Later, Jerusalem improved economically and socially, becoming a magnet for population and capital, despite its misery and fragmentation.

Only a few members of the Al Husseini family remained in Jerusalem, as the young men were immigrating and building their lives abroad in countries such as Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Many of them succeeded in their jobs abroad, while the ones who remained in Jerusalem largely lost their political and economic powers. This continued until Faisal Abdul-Qader Al Husseini became involved in national work and succeeded in reaching high leadership and management positions, thereby becoming the senior figure of the PLO in Palestine. However, since 1948, the family lost much of what had once made it so special, which was working as an establishment.

Ibrahim Beik continued to manage The New Orient Hotel after the Israeli occupation, but not as smoothly. Salma, his daughter, who refused to immigrate, assisted him with his managerial duties, but the building itself had begun to gradually lose its splendor. After Ibrahim’s death in 1978, the hotel continued its operations, but with less quality than before, and a section of it was rented to the Arab Studies Society chaired by Faisal Al Husseini in 1983.

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The New Orient House was shut down upon the outbreak of the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987. However, the building was reopened in 1990 and used as a guest and meeting house, as if to take back its past grandeur from Ismail Beik‘s glory days. Organizations like the Arab Studies Society and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) rented most spaces in the building.

In 1992, the building was radically restored for the Palestinian Negotiating Delegation’s departure to the Madrid Peace Conference. Faisal Al Husseini, the executive committee member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, held office in the building, which later on was called Bayt Al Sharq (Orient House). It was a makeshift headquarters for the Palestinian Liberation Organization and also the Palestinian delegation’s multi-party peace negotiations. In 1997, a ceremony was held celebrating 100 years since the building of the house, which would become a Jerusalemite landmark and a link to its past, present, and future. The Orient House became an official site for international and public delegations, as well as a place for politicians, economists, artists, journalists, and writers. Mrs. Salma Ibrahim Al Husseini, who had remained living in the house since her birth, has written a poem in tribute of The Orient House.

In 2000, the second Infitada broke out, and Faisal Al-Hussieini passed away while in Kuwait. As a result, the Israeli Authorities shut down parts The Orient House, which remain closed to this day. The World Health Organization took the place of ANERA within the house after they vacated their offices.