The Walled Off Hotel - Bethlehem

the walled off hotel


- by Mutasem -

Banksy has been involved in Palestine for more than 11 years now. He was one of the first artists to bring street art to the region. Banksy's works of political and social commentary have been featured on different places including streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.


Banksy’s Dark humor with Graffiti work reached its top when his latest artwork made a huge fuss in the media presenting the opening of The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, adding a huge step to the amount of Banksy's involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and taking it to another level. The Hotel’s name is a play on the Waldorf hotel chain.  


Not being limited only to street art, this time Banksy took this art and put it in a unique hotel promising it’s residents - as Banksy described it - the worst view ever from a hotel room. The hotel is only is four metres from the wall, from the rooms you could see Banksy art on the 708 km long wall, with 62 percent of it already built, isolating and annexing great parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem.

Sofa inside the hotel
The 10 room hotel, built in the style of a colonial club, completed with high end leather sofas from china, range from US$30 for a bunk bed in one room to US$965 a night for the presidential suite. All rooms look out onto the wall and its upper floor stands eye-to-eye with an Israeli watchtower that overlooks parts of Bethlehem.  Many people were surprised when The hotel opened it’s doors, including Palestinian officials since it was built in complete secrecy over a 14-month period.

Elton John played the piano on the opening day of the hotel, saying “it's an honor for me to play in Palestine”.

So whether you are planning to tour Bethlehem, visit the church of the nativity or see Banksy’s art on the separation wall, a visit isn’t complete without being at The Walled Off Hotel.








Green Olive Tours conducts a daily special tour from the hotel which is offered to everyone who books a room. The Bansky 'East/West Jerusalem Tour is modeled on Green Olive's famous 'Greater Jerusalem Tour'. Contact the hotel for details.


Green Olive also conducts a Banksy Tour from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that visits the hotel and Wall.

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Aida Refugee Camp - Bethlehem

 - by Mutasem -
Aida is a Palestinian refugee camp situated 2 kilometers north of the historic centre of Bethlehem in with a population of approximately 5,498 refugees.

Named after a famous coffeehouse (maqhah) located on the site in the early 1940s, Aida camp was established in 1950 by refugees from the Jerusalem and Hebron areas, and covered an area of 66 dunams. At the time, Aida housed 1125 refugees living in 94 tents.
The camp came under special hardship during the Second Intifada, when the school sustained severe damage and 29 housing units were destroyed.

Pope Benedict XVI visited the refugee camp during his Middle East pilgrimage visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009. He said that the refugees lived in "precarious and difficult conditions" and that "It is tragic to see walls still being erected".

On 29 October 2015, at dusk, a video filmed on his iPhone by a resident of the Aida Refugee Camp, Yazan Ikhlayel (17), captured a megaphone address made from an Israeli military vehicle during a raid into the camp. The speech warned residents that, if they did not desist from stone throwing they would be gassed to death -children, youths and the aged. Referring apparently to the arrest of Qassan Abu Aker, the speaker added that one of the arrested would be killed as the residents looked on if the throwing did not stop.

Aida camp is adjacent to Rachel's Tomb, walled off from Jerusalem by the Israeli West Bank barrier and contiguous to the Israeli settlement of Gilo. The Aida Refugee camp is adjacent to a new 4-star hotel, the Intercontinental, on the Jerusalem-Hebron road. On the camp's entrance gate a huge "key of return" is pictured, and on the separation barrier a largo graffito has been painted with the words Gernika 1936 – Palestina 1948.

For the Bethlehem tour, which includes a visit to the refugee camp - >> Details here >>

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Israel Orders Demolition of Entire West Bank Bedouin Village

 - by Yotam Berger - first published in Haaretz - 

In a rare occurrence, the IDF’s Civil Administration in the West Bank on Sunday distributed some 40 demolition orders in a Bedouin village in Area C, which is under full Israeli civil and military control.

Demolition of a Bedouin home in El Araqib (Negev Desert)
2010 file photo
A few hundred people live in temporary structures without any infrastructure in the Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, just east of the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. Among the buildings at the site is the “Tire School,” built of worn-out tires, which is used by students from a number of illegal villages in the area.
The structures in the village were built without permits, but the Civil Administration has avoided demolishing them or evacuating the entire village, despite political pressure to do so.

Residents say the issuing of dozens of demolition orders is unprecedented in the area. “All the houses received [demolition] orders,” A’id Khamis Jahalin, a local resident, told Haaretz. “I’m scared. This time is different. Then they gave one [demolition order] or two, but such a blow, it’s something. They gave 42 orders. They gave for everything, there are no structures here in all the area that didn’t receive an order. I spoke with our lawyer, they gave us up to five days [to object], that’s a short time,” said Jahalin.

A Green Olive Delegation delivering needed solar lights
to the Jahalin Bedouin. > > > more details
Israeli authorities confirmed that such a widespread issuance of demolition orders was unprecedented in the area, and this is a declaration of intention in advance of an attempt to evacuate the entire village.
In the past, the Civil Administration has offered residents to move to a permanent location, which the residents say does not meet their needs in terms of Bedouin lifestyle, amount of land and proximity to other Bedouin tribes. The government has avoided any large-scale evacuation of Palestinians in Area C, partly because of the involvement of European and American diplomats.

The Bedouins living in Area C near Ma’aleh Adumim endure harsh conditions and poverty, and the EU has often provided structures in their villages. These buildings have been put up illegally, but the EU makes sure to put a large sticker with the EU flag on all of them. The Civil Administration sometimes removes these structures. The Tire School was built in 2009 by an Italian NGO, and has since become a symbol for the Bedouins in the region.

Last week, the State Prosecutor’s Office informed the High Court of Justice in two cases that the government wanted to postpone the sessions on the demolition of structures in the Bedouin community in the West Bank, in light of the attempts to formulate a new policy on the matter.
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Editorial from Green Olive - The Green Olive Collective has been raising funds and distributing solar lamps to the Jahalin Bedouin who live off the grid in the Judean (Jerusalem) Desert. Their Jewish neighbors live in the beautiful suburban town of Ma'ale Adumim with all modern conveniences which the local Bedouin are denied basic services and have their homes demolished by the Israeli authorities. Here's what you can do:

  1. Write a letter to your nearest Israeli Embassy protesting the inhumane treatment of the Bedouin (suggested text below)
  2. Help the Bedouin by donating solar lamps, or buy one for yourself and we'll donate one in your name. > > More Details here > >
Sample Letter:

To the Israeli Embassy
Re: Demolishing Bedouin Homes

It was with great dismay that I learned that on Sunday 19th February, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria issued demolition orders to all the homes of the Bedouin Village of Khan al-Ahmar, near Ma’aleh Adumim in the Judean Desert, East of Jerusalem.

The Jahalin Bedouin are living in an area that is traditional for their tribe, and it is outrageous that the Israeli government should seek to move them in order to facilitate the growth of all-Jewish settlements.

Israel claims to be a democracy yet discriminates between residents based on their religion. The Bedouin human rights are being violated and this needs to stop. Please pass this letter to the appropriate authorities.

Sincerely,
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