never one to shy away from making a political statement, banksy has recently shared his alternative nativity scene that comments on the imposed divide between palestinians and israelis. titled ‘scar of bethlehem’, the piece shows a quintessentially festive image of baby jesus in his makeshift crib with mary and joseph looking on. however, looming behind them is the concrete wall of the west bank barrier, and in place of the north star is a huge bullet hole.


the work has appeared inside the walled off hotel, which actually overlooks the barrier in bethlehem. the ‘art hotel’ was set up partly by the artist and features many of his original artworks, including a mural of an israeli soldier and a palestinian having a pillow fight.


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. . Scar of Bethlehem. A modified nativity set for the @walledoffhotel

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construction of the ‘west bank barrier’ first began in 2002 and the enormous structure now stretches more than 440 miles (708 km) along the west bank. constructed from both concrete and wire, the imposing edifice rises 8-meters high in parts. while the israeli government cites issues of security as reasons for building the huge separation, the UN has previously described the divide, or annexation, as ‘illegal’


in september 2019, UN rights expert michael lynk condemned plans by israel’s prime minister benjamin netanyahu to extend the barrier into the jordan valley, which would effectively cut off the west bank’s border with jordan: ‘to assert the right to annex in the 21st century is to attempt to re-enter a world that no longer exists… the annexation, if realized, will effectively end the illusion of a meaningful two-state solution, and will instead further entrench a one state reality of separate and vastly unequal legal systems, political rights and social opportunities.’



project info:


artist: banksy

piece: scar of bethlehem

location: the walled off hotel, bethlehem