Netanyahu and Trump kiss in West Bank security barrier graffiti
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Smooch toward Bethlehem

Netanyahu and Trump kiss in West Bank security barrier graffiti

Australian artist Lushsux says he painted the image to draw attention to the ‘people stuck in here’

Depiction of Donald Trump kissing Netanyahu drawn on the security barrier in Bethlehem. (AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)
Depiction of Donald Trump kissing Netanyahu drawn on the security barrier in Bethlehem. (AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)

A new piece of protest artwork appeared on the security barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem overnight Sunday, depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing US President Donald Trump.

In the graffiti, Netanyahu is dubbed as saying, “Thanks for the wall, Trumpy pumpkin,” as Trump replies, “Bebe (sic), your country and you will always come first, my love.”

It is signed by Australian artist Lushsux, who has reportedly been responsible for other pro-Palestinian artwork on the barrier.

In a video posted online, a man with a white mask claimed to be the artist. In Australian-accented English, he told Reuters, “The wall is a message in itself. I don’t need to write ‘Free Palestine’ or something like that, something really direct … that people will ignore.”

The shadowy figure added that he hopes it will inspire people to look into the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tourists walk past a graffiti by street artist Lushsux, depicting US President Donald Trump kissing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drawn on the Israeli security barrier separating the West Bank town of Bethlehem from Jerusalem, on October 29, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER)

“I just paint what I usually paint and maybe people will start looking at the background and looking at the razor wire and looking at people stuck in here, and maybe that’ll work better,” he said.

Earlier this month, Lushsux painted several other pieces of art on the security barrier.

One painting depicts Trump penning a letter to the rapper Eminem, alongside a caption from his 2000 hit song “Stan” in which Eminem is stalked by a superfan.

Another shows failed US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton asking “what happened?” which, without the question mark, is the title of her new autobiography. Next to her, Trump says “I happened.”

What happened?

A post shared by lushsux (@lushsux) on

A third has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with red eyes and the caption “the more of your data I gather, the more I understand what it means to be human.”

Comedian Larry David and late South African leader Nelson Mandela also got the wall treatment, along with riffs on the “Free Palestine” slogan.

Lushsux later shared a photograph on Instagram of graffiti defacing some of his artwork. Although the writing is in Arabic and is on the Palestinian side of the wall — an area Israelis are not permitted to enter — the artist blamed Israelis.

“Fantastic artistic additions to the Palestinian border wall murals by Israeli’s (sic). Lets all thank them for their contribution to the arts below.”

Israel began erecting the security barrier at the height of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, when the country was under assault by a stream of Palestinian suicide bombers; more than a thousand Israelis were killed. For most of its length, the barrier is a series of fences, but in parts, it is a concrete wall, up to eight meters high. Palestinians call it the “apartheid” wall.

It has long been a site for artists to highlight alleged Israeli crimes, with secretive UK artist Banksy painting on it multiple times.

Much of the barrier cuts into the West Bank, taking in about 7 percent of West Bank territory. Israel’s Supreme Court has accepted a series of petitions reducing the amount of West Bank territory on the western side of the barrier from around 14%.

AFP contributed to this report.

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