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March 5, 2017 1:20 pm

Pro-Jewish State Activist: Through His New Bethlehem Hotel, Famed British Graffiti Artist Banksy ‘Finally Asking Critical Questions of Both Sides’ of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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A mural in one of the rooms at Banky's new Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. Photo: Banksy's Instagram page.

A mural in one of the rooms at Banky’s new Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. Photo: Banksy’s Instagram page.

A new hotel in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem designed and owned by famed graffiti artist Banksy is one of the “most complex and nuanced” projects the mysterious Brit has ever undertaken, the head of a US-based pro-Israel artists group told The Algemeiner on Sunday.

“He is finally asking critical questions of both sides, far from his previous heavy-handed and one-sided works [in favor of the Palestinians],” Craig Dershowitz — the executive director of Artists 4 Israel — said. “And we support any fair and open discussion and are proud to [have played] at least a small part in moving him to a place of dialogue.”

The Walled Off Hotel, which was revealed to the public for the first time this week, is located next to the West Bank security barrier — built by Israel more than a decade ago as part of an effort to thwart Palestinian terrorist attacks. In the past, Banksy has painted murals on concrete portions of the barrier.

According to Banksy’s website, the hotel — which features dozens of the artist’s works — is “not aligned to any political movement or pressure group. The aim is to tell the story of the wall from every side and give visitors the opportunity to discover it for themselves. We offer an especially warm welcome to young Israelis. Absolutely no fanaticism is permitted on the premises.”

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In a statement, Banksy said, “It’s exactly one hundred years since Britain took control of Palestine and started re-arranging the furniture — with chaotic results. I don’t know why, but it felt like a good time to reflect on what happens when the United Kingdom makes a huge political decision without fully comprehending the consequences.”

According to Dershowitz, the global graffiti artist community is “overwhelmingly in support of peaceful coexistence and examining the conflict with new eyes. Rather than the black-and-white, zero-sum game that so many activists see on both sides, artists see the many colors.”

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