Britain’s best-known performance artist is opening a hotel in the West Bank right next to the security fence surrounding the region.
Banksy, whose real identity is unknown, has created the “Walled Off Hotel”, a nod to the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. It contains just ten rooms, all of which are filled with work created by the artist.
According to the Guardian, the Bethlehem-based hotel is due to open on March 20, and has what its new owner has described as “the worst view of any hotel in the world”.
The UK paper also quotes a statement by Banksy in which the artist says “Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before [Donald] Trump made it cool.”
Israel’s security fence was erected at a time when Palestinian suicide bombers were regularly attacking Israeli cities and were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians. Since the fence’s completion, the number of bombing attacks has been reduced to almost zero, with most attacks on Israeli civilians now taking the form of either attempted stabbing or car-ramming.
In his statement, Banksy described the hotel as “a three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking”.
The area in which the hotel has been built is officially under Israeli control. However, all roads to the site run through Palestinian-controlled territory which is illegal for Israelis to enter.
Nonetheless, the hotel’s manager, Wisam Salsaa, is inviting Israelis to visit.
“I would like to invite everyone to come here, invite Israeli civilians to come visit us here,” the Guardian quotes him as saying.
“We want them to learn more about us, because when they know us it will break down the stereotypes and things will change.”