Maybe She Had Credit Card Points?
JERUSALEM, March 5--For many years, the Secretary of State has stayed at the David Citadel, a gleaming, modern hotel near the old city here. Peace negotiations were held on the sun filled tenth floor, in a suite named after the slain Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin.
But there was a surprise when Rice and her staff arrived here after an exhausting day that included a night on the plane and a grueling schedule from before dawn to after dusk in Cairo, Ramallah and Jerusalem. The Secretary of State was not staying at the David Citadel, but the venerable King David.
The King David is a famous hotel, with grand rooms. It was also the site of a spectacular bombing in 1946, when members of the Irgun, a militant Zionist organization (led at the time by Menacham Begin, a future prime minister) planted a bomb in the basement to attack the British military headquarters then in charge of the territory. Ninety-one people were killed.
So why the change? Few people will talk on the record, but U.S. officials say that, after years of hosting Secretaries of State, the management of the David Citadel was mighty miffed when President Bush visited Jerusalem in January and stayed not at the David Citadel but at the King David.
The David Citadel did get much of the presidential staff and assurances of a future presidential visit, but that apparently was not enough to assuage hurt feelings in the highly competitive hotel business. The two hotels are just a few hundreds yards from each other, near the old city, and the fact the big guy did not turn up was highly problematic for the David Citadel, sources said. The cushy, low embassy rates suddenly disappeared.
It was not a total loss: Reporters all got upgraded to grand suites at the King David. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he did not recall why Bush picked the King David.
For the record, Moshe Sand, general manger of the David Citadel, says there is no problem. "We at The David Citadel Hotel gladly welcome any American delegate to our hotel and we are always happy to host visits of the United States Consulate and Embassy," he said in an email. "However, the ultimate decision is made by the United States Embassy in regards to accommodations. It is always our utmost honor and privilege to be able to host US officials at our hotel."
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Posted by: Margaret Murphy | March 5, 2008 3:52 PM
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