British street artist Banksy has opened his hotel in the occupied West Bank, only four meters from Israel’s separation wall in Bethlehem.
All the rooms in the hotel face the wall to ‘remind our guests the situation of the Palestinians’ Banksy sarcastically say.
The nine-room Walled Off Hotel, which will officially open on March 11th, is also Banksy ‘s latest artwork in the Palestinian territories. Banksy has heavily decorated the barrier in previous forays into the Palestinian territories.
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Room is number three, known as “Banksy’s Room,” where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.
The hotel also features one presidential suite, a museum highlighting the conflict in the region and a gallery selling Palestinian art.
The Banksy statement said the hotel “offers a warm welcome to people from all sides of the conflict and across the world”.
Read some of the Q&A on the website:
Is this a joke?
Nope – it’s a genuine art hotel with fully functioning ensuite facilities and limited car parking.
Is it safe?
Yes. The hotel is located in a bustling area fully open to tourists from across the world. The official British Foreign Office advice declares it a safe place to visit – and like any holiday you should check the FCO website or equivalent before travelling.
Do I need a VISA?
You don’t need a visa to enter Israel as a tourist and you can stay for up to 3 months. Unlike the locals, you’ll be permitted to travel wherever you wish.
Expect to be asked about the purpose of your stay and if you intend travelling to the West Bank. If you answer ‘yes’ you may be held up for some time, consequently many visitors choose not to highlight that particular part of their holiday.
Is it anti-Semitic?
Definitely not. The Walled Off Hotel is an entirely independent leisure facility set up and financed by Banksy. It 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.