Banksy opens dystopian West Bank hotel

Emma Graham Harrison 
New banksy artwork in a room in his new Bethlehem hotel

The lodging in the historic city is a hotel, a protest and an art work, all in one. File this one under all of the above.

Banksy's new hotel is an attempt, according to the artist and hotel staff, to both support the local economy of Bethlehem while bringing global attention to the plight of the Palestinians in the city, who live walled off from the world in what they have termed a "ghetto" due to the Israeli Annexation Wall.

British street artist Banksy takes on a new challenge in Bethlehem. It will be open for bookings on its still-undisclosed website on March 11.

Meanwhile, in room number three, called Banksy's Room, guests can sleep under a Banksy piece showing a Palestinian and an Israeli having a pillow fight. "It has the worst view of any hotel in the world", Banksy said in a statement. The piano lounge, as the Telegraph reports, is dotted with CCTV cameras.

The hotel opening is created to coincide with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the 1917 statement by the British government in favour of a Jewish homeland that helped pave the way for the creation of Israel.

Although Israelis are officially forbidden from entering Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in the West Bank, among them Bethlehem, the hotel sits in an area just outside the city, and under Israeli military control.

His stencils hastily were sprayed at different locations along the 8-metre wall for fear of Israeli soldiers.

However, it may be hard for Israeli visitors to reach the hotel. Their hopes may not be fulfilled, The Guardian notes, since visiting the Palestinian territories means breaking the law.

The artist has a long history in the Palestinian territories. After dabbling in theme parks, the anonymous United Kingdom street artist has dived headfirst into the world of hotels.

Clocks on the wall in the bar area tell the time around the world. Some also offer travelers a glimpse over the wall and into an illegal Israeli settlement.

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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