‘The British didn’t handle things well here’: Banksy holds Balfour apology party for Palestinians at his hotel in West Bank
Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the British government backed ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’
Secretive British street artist Banksy held an event to apologise for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on Wednesday outside his hotel in the occupied West Bank.
The typically surreal event involved 50 children hosted by an actor dressed as Queen Elizabeth II for a British-style tea party.
Their party hats were bullet-riddled helmets with British flags on them, while tattered British flags were flown.
The queen revealed a plaque carved in concrete saying “Er, Sorry,” playing on the common initials for Elizabeth Royal.
The apology was etched into Israel’s controversial separation wall, which in many areas cuts through Palestinian territory.
The children were descendants of Palestinians forced to flee their land in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.
Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the British government said it viewed “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.
Palestinians see the document as giving away their homeland, while Israelis see it as helping pave the way to the founding of their country at a time when Jews were facing persecution elsewhere.
“This conflict has brought so much suffering to people on all sides. It didn’t feel appropriate to ‘celebrate’ the British role in it,” Banksy said in a statement.
“The British didn’t handle things well here – when you organise a wedding, it’s best to make sure the bride isn’t already married.”
The British government has said it will mark Thursday’s anniversary “with pride”, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend a dinner in London with his British counterpart Theresa May.
Banksy opened the Walled-Off Hotel near Bethlehem in March, with all the rooms facing directly onto Israel’s separation wall.
The artist closely protects his identity and was not said to be there on Wednesday.