BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – British street artist Banksy has brought a dark Christmas spirit to a hotel he founded in the West Bank city of Bethlehem with a crib evoking the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Nicknamed the "Scar of Bethlehem," the screen (pictured here) shows a miniature of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph under a version of Israel's West Bank concrete barrier pierced by bullet holes, the largest of which resembles a star. over the manger.
It is located at The Walled Off Hotel, which abuts the royal barrier and which the secret Banksy opened in 2017.
"Christmas is known (by) the Star of Bethlehem, which led people to the birthplace of Jesus," said hotel manager Wisam Salsa. "You see there is a scar, there is a hole in the wall that marks the wall and life in Bethlehem as it is today."
Israel says the barrier across the West Bank is a bulwark against Palestinian suicide bombers. Palestinians see this as a symbol of oppression on Israeli-occupied land they wish for a state.
Arnaud Lucien, a tourist from France, saw hope in art.
"It's a scene, a biblical scene that becomes political," he said. "And the message is very interesting because the message of peace is made for Palestinians and Israelis, and I think it's a very cool work of art."
Slideshow (5 Images)
In downtown Bethlehem, which is revered as the birthplace of Jesus, pilgrims and tourists from around the world were gathering at Manger Square on December 25th.
Many posed for photos in front of a large crib and Christmas tree erected in front of the Church of the Nativity, eating cotton candy and buying red and white hats from a Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus.
Christians make up about 1% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Written by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Alexandra Hudson
Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. . (tagsToTranslate) USA (t) CHRISTMAS (t) SEASON (t) BANKSY (t) Leisure Products (TRBC) (t) Art (t) Christianity (t) Israel (t) Palestinian Territories (t) Life / Lifestyle (t) Image available (t) Diplomacy / Foreign Policy (t) Arts / Culture / Entertainment (t) Video (t) Europe (t) Middle East (t) Religion / Belief (t) United Kingdom (t) Photos (t ) Conflict / War / Peace