Banksy releases ‘promo’ for Gaza
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Banksy releases ‘promo’ for Gaza

In return visit to the Holy Land, street artist brings his signature dark humor to the Palestinian enclave

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The anonymous artist Banksy released a video on Feb. 25, 2015 showing a recent visit to the Gaza Strip.  (Screen capture)
The anonymous artist Banksy released a video on Feb. 25, 2015 showing a recent visit to the Gaza Strip. (Screen capture)

The mysterious street artist Banksy released a video Wednesday portraying Gaza as a “travel destination.”

“Make this the year YOU discover a new destination,” the clip declares.

“The locals like it so much they never leave (because they’re not allowed to),” Banksy writes.

The promo video parody shows the artist entering Gaza through an illegal tunnel and spray-painting his or her — Banksy’s gender is unknown — signature style work around wreckage in the Gaza Strip from this summer’s conflict between Palestinian groups and the IDF.

“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons—they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day,” reads a caption on Banksy’s website.

This is at least the artist’s second trip to the Holy Land. In 2005 when the debate over the security fence between Israel and the West Bank was raging, Banksy spray-painted several large murals on the concrete sections of the barrier, including a white dove in a bulletproof vest and a young girl patting down a soldier.

Banksy’s work is known for its dark humor, often combining light, childish images with disturbing or violent ones.

One stenciled image in Gaza shows children swinging from a pillbox, like the ones the IDF uses. Another shows a large cat playing with a piece of rubble that looks like a ball of string.

When a local resident asked what the kitten was supposed to signify, Banksy explained, “I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

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