Elusive British street artist Banksy has opened a hotel in Bethlehem as an art installation, protest and — yes — as place for visitors to stay.
Squeezed into a space right next to the separation barrier, the Walled-Off Hotel (riffing on Waldorf Hotel, which sounds the same in a southern English accent) boasts the “worst-view in the world” from its presidential suite.
Each room has its own particular form of protest, from water dripping from bullet-holes in the bathtub of the presidential suite, to hallway paintings of Israeli watchtowers with Palestinian children swinging around them like a carousel.
The hotel was constructed in secret over 14 months before being unveiled on March 3. It will open for business on March 20, though who might stay in it still remains an open question. Though Banksy is explicitly interested in opening dialogue and visited Gaza in 2015 the Walled-Off Hotel is almost legally impossible to stay in. Israelis are forbidden from Bethlehem and its sites and, though the hotel is in an area under Israeli military control (therefore legal to stay), all the approach roads are illegal to take.