Banksy holds Balfour ‘apology party’ for Palestinians
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Banksy holds Balfour ‘apology party’ for Palestinians

Shadowy British artist invites children from al-Ayda refugee camp to British-style tea party at security barrier

An actor dressed up as Queen Elizabeth and Palestinian children from the al-Ayda refugee camp attend an event organized by secretive British street artist Banksy to apologize for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 1, 2017 at his Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in the West Bank. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
An actor dressed up as Queen Elizabeth and Palestinian children from the al-Ayda refugee camp attend an event organized by secretive British street artist Banksy to apologize for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 1, 2017 at his Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in the West Bank. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Secretive British street artist Banksy held an event to apologize for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on Wednesday outside his West Bank hotel.

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 Elizabetha Regina (Queen Elizabeth II).

A carving in stone reading ‘Er, Sorry’ on the Israeli security barrier in Bethlehem in the West Bank on November 1, 2017. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

The apology was etched into Israel’s security barrier.

The children were descendants of people who fled or were expelled from what is today Israel during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of state.

Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the British government said it viewed “with favor 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 organize a wedding, it’s best to make sure the bride isn’t already married.”

Palestinian children from the al-Ayda refugee camp attend an event held by secretive British street artist Banksy to apologize for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 1, 2017 at his Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in the West Bank. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

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 security barrier.

The artist closely protects his identity and was not said to be in attendance Wednesday.

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