Sat Mar 4, 2017 03:38AM
The entrance to the Walled Off Hotel in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem
The entrance to the Walled Off Hotel in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem

A world-renowned anonymous graffiti artist has surprised Palestinians by opening a 10-room “Walled Off Hotel” in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, drawing attention to the bitter realities of life within the illegal “apartheid wall.”

The UK-based artist, known by the pseudonym “Banksy,” opened the three-storey hotel on Friday, coinciding with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, by which the then British government endorsed the illegal establishment of the Israeli regime on the Palestinian territory.

An Israeli watch tower is seen from one of the rooms of the Walled Off Hotel in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 3, 2017. (Photo by AP)
Among those references is a recreation, housed in the museum area, of the signing of the Balfour Declaration, which gave British endorsement for the establishment of the Israeli regime. (Photo by AP)

Banksy designed all the rooms in the first floor in a way that they overlook the wall’s unwelcoming and gloomy concrete slabs, and the upper rooms stand eye-to-eye with the Israeli watch towers that loom over parts of the city.

Iconographic representations of Banksy’s previous artworks are shown framed in the hotel’s lobby area – beside a bust engulfed by a cloud of teargas. (Photo by Reuters)
A Banksy installation hangs above the dining tables in the lobby, where residents can chew over the events of the day. (Photo by AFP)

The artist was either not present at the opening ceremony or appeared in disguise to hide his identity. However, in a two-page press release, he said the hotel has the “worst view in the world.”

The hotel is proud of its self-declared “worst view in the world,” coupled with its British colonial aesthetic. (Photo by AFP)
Security cameras, slingshots and sledgehammers are displayed in direct reference to the barrier outside. (Photo by AP)

Banksy built the hotel in total secrecy over a 14-month period and said that it started accepting bookings from March 11, nine days before it begins as a functioning and genuine place, and not just a political statement.

Palestinian women and girls walk in front of the Israeli wall between the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem and Jerusalem al-Quds on January 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)