A general view shows the Walled-Off Hotel (L), Banksy's newly opened hotel, standing next to Israel's controversial separation wall, in the Israeli occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem, on March 20, 2017. / AFP / HAZEM BADER
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While tourism to Israel has steadily increased in recent years, Palestinian-controlled lands, which include many of the major Biblical sites, have seen scant benefit as Israel maintains a tight military grip over the West Bank.Tourism in the Palestinian territories rebounded slightly in 2016, to 2.4 million foreign visitors, up from 2.2 million the previous year, but below the 2.5 million in 2014, government data show.Palestinian hotels registered 906,000 stays by foreign visitors in 2016, down from 1.1 million in 2014 . In Israel, by contrast, foreigners logged 8.5 million nights in hotels last year. Just as problematic for the Palestinians, the vast majority of visitors arrive via Israel, so Israeli tour operators and hotels get first crack at serving them. Responding to frustrated hoteliers, the PLO issued a report last year on the "annexation of tourism," charging that Israelis had rebranded some of the most popular West Bank sites as being in the "Holy Land" to obscure their Palestinian identity.
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