Banksy Built A Hotel Overlooking The Israel-Palestine Barrier

Emma Graham Harrison

Emma Graham Harrison "Free Palestine- new #Banksy in the cinema of his barrier wall hotel

Controversial artist Banksy has opened a new piece of artwork in the form of a hotel - in one of the most contested areas in the world.

Israel refers to it as the security barrier and insists it is crucial for keeping out would-be attackers.

In one room, a riot guard and a protester battle with feather pillows on a wall above the bed.

The hotel is aimed at attracting foreign visitors to a corner of the occupied West Bank where they might not usually stay, at once giving a badly-needed boost to the Palestinian economy and showing them the realities of life surrounded by the wall.

The Walled Off Hotel is not Banksy's first foray into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the dystopian "bemusement" park Dismaland that he created in 2015, he displayed works by three Palestinian and three Israeli artists side by side. Anyone is welcome to visit the museum and art gallery, as well as the piano bar, during certain hours.

"Since 2008, we didn't have many tourists coming into Bethlehem, but there were more Banksy tourists coming than any other type of tourists", Walled Off Hotel Manager Wisam Salsah told Al Jazeera.

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That angered Shadi Alzaqzouq, one of the Palestinian artists, so much that he covered his work with a sheet on which he had written "RIP Gaza" before lying down for a "die-in" in front of the message.

In 2005, he sprayed nine stencilled images at different locations along the eight-metre-high wall.

British street artist Banksy takes on a new challenge in Bethlehem. "Dormitory-style" accommodations, modeled after military barracks, will allow you to sleep in the hotel for $30 to $35 per night.

Set to open its doors to guests on March 20, the hotel team wants Israelis to see the wall up close.

The Presidential Suite, says the website, "is equipped with everything a corrupt head of state would need - a plunge bath able to accommodate up to four revellers, original artwork, library, home cinema, roof garden, tiki bar and a water feature made from a bullet riddled water tank".

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