What Did (and Didn't) Happen in Room 16 of the American Colony Hotel

It’s said that the Oslo peace process was born in that room in Jerusalem in 1992. The truth is much different.

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem in 2009. Abir Sultan/Flash90.

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem in 2009. Abir Sultan/Flash90.

Observation
Dec. 16 2019
About the author

Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Koret distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.


A couple of months ago, my wife and I took a 24-hour vacation in Jerusalem, spent entirely at the historic American Colony, one of Jerusalem’s oldest hostelries. The hotel originated in a messianic Christian commune whose members had arrived from Chicago toward the end of the 19th century in anticipation of the Second Coming. While waiting, they diversified into economic activities, including hospitality. Over the last century-plus, the American Colony has hosted an A-list of dignitaries and celebrities from T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) to the British rock star Sting.

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More about: Faisal Husseini, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Oslo Accords, Peace Process, Yasir Arafat