Banksy decorates West Bank hotel with views of Israel's wall

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image copyrightAP

A hotel which prides itself on the "worst view in the world" is set to attract international attention - because it is a collaboration with the famous street artist Banksy.

The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem looks out on the concrete slabs of the controversial barrier Israel has built in and around the occupied West Bank.

Israel says it is needed to prevent terror attacks. Palestinians say it is a device to grab land and the International Court of Justice has called it illegal.

The rooms of the hotel are also filled with the anonymous artist's work, much of which is about the conflict.

The owners say it will be a real, functioning hotel, opening on 20 March.

But the hotel is also part art gallery and part political statement.

image copyrightAP
image captionMost cities in the West Bank are off-limits for Israeli visitors. But the Walled Off Hotel sits along a part which remains under Israel's control - meaning Israeli visitors can visit the Walled Off Hotel and see Banksy's latest creations.
image copyrightAFP
image captionEvery room is decorated with works by Banksy. "My accountant was worried some people will be too scared to travel to the West Bank," the artist said in a press release. "But then I remind him - for my last show they spent a whole day in Weston-super-Mare," he added, referencing his dystopian theme park on the English coast.
image copyrightAP
image captionThe works include a mural in one bedroom of an Israeli solider and his Palestinian counterpart having a pillow fight. In the presidential suite, the bed is decorated in romantic red - with a painting of a heart contained by barbed wire as its centrepiece.
image copyrightAFP
image captionThe hotel is proud of its self-declared "worst view in the world", coupled with its British colonial aesthetic. Afternoon tea is served daily, and there are several references to British culture throughout.
image captionEven the typical hotel television has been transformed into a piece of political art.
image copyrightDusan Vranic
image captionThe presidential suite is decorated in mock-colonial style. The owners said the style was an "English gentlemen's club from colonial times".
image copyrightAP
image caption"However, the refined ambience has been brought right up to date - the oil painted seascapes are awash with refugees' life jackets, statues choke on tear gas fumes and cherubs fall to earth starved of breath."
image copyrightAP
image captionAmong those references is a recreation, housed in the museum area, of the signing of the Balfour declaration, which gave British endorsement for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". Banksy said: "It's exactly one hundred years since Britain took control of Palestine and started re-arranging the furniture - with chaotic results."
image copyrightAP
image captionThe bar area is also decorated - but with security cameras, slingshots and sledgehammers in direct reference to the security barrier outside and the conflict it was built as a result of. The restaurant area features more politically-charged artwork. There is also a gallery on the ground floor filled with Palestinian art.
image copyrightAP
image captionThe hotel will accept bookings from 11 March, nine days before its opening. Its doors directly face a stretch of the wall which Banksy has previously painted. "Walls are hot right now," the press statement quoted Banksy saying, "but I was into them long before Trump made it cool."

The Walled Off Hotel opens on 20 March.

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