Banksy is a British graffiti artist who knows how to turn lemons into lemonade. His latest masterpiece is the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem (a hauntingly beautiful work of art and functioning hotel with the worst view in the world). This amazing piece of work faces the Israeli separation wall and the statement it gives is so powerful.
“The aim is to tell the story of the wall from every side and give visitors the opportunity to discover it for themselves. Operated by the local community, we offer a warm welcome to everyone from all sides of the conflict and across the world” A quote from the hotel’s website.
Looking at the bullet-riddled water installation, mural of an Israeli soldier and Palestinian man caught in a pillow fight or David-esque statue choking on tear gas and you’ll realize that The Walled Off Hotel is Banksy’s most elaborate protest to the Israeli occupation yet. However, his famous political street art is all over Bethlehem.
The Walled Off Hotel itself has a dark sense of humour it brags about its gloomy backdrop online as, “floor to ceiling views of graffiti-strewn concrete from almost every room. And for the exhibitionists amongst you — many are within range of the army watchtower.”
The wall is known to be an attraction to tourist and hopefully, there will be an increment in revenue.
“In 2008, we did not have much tourists coming into Bethlehem, but there were more Banksy tourists coming to Betlehem than any other type of tourist. Actually, there were more Banksy tourists than Nativity Church tourists.” Wissam Salsah (hotel manager of The Walled Off Hotel, told Al Jazeera).