Published: Sat, March 04, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Banky's Bethlehem hotel offers room with a view of West Bank barrier

Banky's Bethlehem hotel offers room with a view of West Bank barrier

Under an army watchtower and across the street from the concrete wall Israel has built in parts of the occupied West Bank, street artist Banksy has opened a guesthouse in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

The wall has long served as a flash point between Israelis and Palestinians, as the Israeli government refers to it as a security measure, but many Palestinians claim it is a form of apartheid that strangles their personal and professional lives.

The nine-room and one suite hotel is said to have been decorated to "resemble an English gentlemen's club from colonial times" to acknowledge Britain's historical role in the region. As one would expect, the hotel features a plethora of Banksy's works.

A hotel filled with the work of British graffitist Banksy has been unveiled in Bethlehem.

Banksy's spokespeople insisted the building is "a real business venture, not an art stunt", with rooms to be rented out later.

With the Israeli government tightening travel controls between the Palestinian territories and Israel even further over the past years, Bethlehem's economy - entirely based on sightseeing and pilgrimage - has been ravaged, The Guardian reports.

Israel says the wall is a necessity to ward off terror attacks. One depicted a man wearing a balaclava throwing flowers, while the other featured a girl frisking a soldier.

It is situated just a few metres from the controversial West Bank barrier which has been heavily decorated by many artists including Banksy.

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

"The aim is to tell the story of the wall from every side and give visitors the opportunity to discover it for themselves", Banksy said in a statement.

They included a ladder reaching over the wall, a young girl being carried over it by balloons and a window on the grey concrete showing lovely mountains in the background.

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