Japanese hotel ‘cancels’ Israeli guest’s reservation over ‘war crimes’

Israeli tourist named Alex was refused accommodation due to reports of possible war crimes being committed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)

A Japanese hotel has been accused of cancelling an Israeli tourist’s reservation due to alleged ‘war crimes’ committed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. The incident has sparked a backlash from the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo.

According to media reports, an Israeli tourist named Alex had booked a room at Material Hotel in Japan’s Kyoto. However, he received a message from the hotel manager, Jeronimo Gehres, informing him that the reservation was cancelled because the hotel could not accommodate “persons we believe might have ties to the Israeli army” who commit war crimes in Gaza.

The message to the tourist read: “Dear Alex, We appreciate you taking the time and choosing our hotel. However, we are sorry to inform you that, due to reports of possible war crimes being committed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) members in the conflict taking place in Gaza between Israel and Palestine, we are not able to accept reservations from persons we believe might have ties to the Israeli army.”

“Offering lodging to persons who might have assisted or might be assisting in the execution of warfare activities forbidden by international humanitarian law based on the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols could put us at risk of being considered accomplices and/or accessories to a person who could be facing prosecution for war crimes as soon as the conflict is over,” it added.

Following the news that went viral, the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo condemned the hotel’s action. Israel’s ambassador to Japan, Gilad Cohen, sent a letter of complaint to the CEO of the company, demanding a thorough investigation and an apology. He also demanded the dismissal of the hotel manager.

The Kyoto city administration also reprimanded the hotel for violating Japan’s Hotel Business Act, which prohibits refusing accommodation based on nationality or occupation unless specific circumstances apply.

However, the Material Hotel has not yet responded to the allegations or explained its actions.

Pertinently, on June 17, the Health Ministry in Gaza informed that at least 37,347 Palestinian civilians had been killed and 85,372 wounded since the war began.