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A painting by British graffiti artist Banksy years ago appeared on the West Bank separation wall in a Tel Aviv gallery. It is unclear how the work, a photograph of a rat with a slingshot, ended in an Israeli city. The Palestinian administration is talking about theft.
Many of his works can be found in the West Bank with critical references to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Therefore, moving the image with a mouse to Tel Aviv is very sensitive.
Former military checkpoint
Banksy created the artwork in 2007. Later, the text RIP Rat was sprayed over the image, after which unknown people removed the 2-square-meter piece of wall and moved it to an unknown location. The restorer removed the graffiti.
It is not yet clear how the piece of the wall ended up in the Urban Gallery in Tel Aviv. AP spoke to the owner of the gallery, but he only said that he bought it from a Palestinian in Bethlehem. The work must have been transported by a special truck because the block of concrete weighs hundreds of kilograms. The means of transport must have passed at least one military checkpoint.
The gallery owner says it has met all legal requirements, but according to an international treaty, occupying powers must prevent the removal of cultural objects from occupied territories.
“This is theft of the property of the Palestinian people,” a spokesman for the Palestinian Tourism Ministry told the Associated Press. “These were paintings by an international artist of Bethlehem and Palestine and of visitors to Bethlehem and Palestine. So to move them, tamper with and steal them is definitely illegal.”
The owner of the Israeli gallery says he only wants to display the work, not sell it. Banksy has yet to comment on the whereabouts of his new business. According to the gallery’s owner, Banksy must be happy that his political message can now be seen in Tel Aviv.
Not much is known about Banksy himself, but it is believed that he is from Bristol. He incorporates political messages into his art.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”