Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a hotel in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
The elusive British artist famously painted several murals on the wall built to separate Israeli and Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
His Walled Off Hotel is in Bethlehem, revered by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus, a few metres from a stretch of the controversial West Bank barrier which has been heavily decorated by artists. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Banksy said: “Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before Trump made it cool”.
The nine-room hotel is staffed by local people – none of whom knew the identity of the owner until today.
It contains dozens of Banksy works, a themed bar and interactive exhibits.
One depicts the signing of the Balfour Declaration which set the conditions for the establishment of Israel 100 years ago this year.
The hotel has been “decorated to resemble an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times” in recognition of the historical role Britain played in the region.
Banksy says people from all sides of the Middle East conflict are welcome to stay, and he is not affiliated to any political party or pressure group.
The hotel is Banksy’s first major project since Dismaland, a temporary exhibition in Weston-super-Mare that offered a sinister take on theme parks.