Elton John Stands With Palestinians at New Banksy Hotel in Bethlehem
BY: Yara Jouzy/ Contributing Writer
Legendary British singer, Elton John, performed at the opening of “The Walled Off Hotel” on Sunday night. The singer and songwriter expressed his solidarity with the Palestinians through his incredible video streamed performance at the hotel, which was recently unveiled by famed graffiti artist, Banksy.
The honorary guest spoke to the Palestinian people, giving them hope for unity as he said, “it’s my great pleasure to be playing in Palestine this evening. Please know that you are not alone. You are not forgotten.”
Elton John then continued to humor the audience by saying, “I would’ve loved to have been with you all tonight but you know, there wasn’t any room at the inn.”
The singer’s joke was in reference to the hotel’s small size. With only nine rooms and a few feet from Israel’s apartheid wall, the hotel offers little space, but makes a large statement. Because of its proximity to the separation barrier, Banksy named it the hotel with “the world’s worst view.” When looking out the windows, all guests can see is the barbed wire and graffiti sprawled across Israel’s 8-meter high wall.
Each room in Banksy’s hotel was inspired by the daily struggles of Palestinians and the atrocities they face while living in the West Bank. The hotel also features an exhibit where local artists can showcase their talents and their Palestinian identity through art. This form of expression is seen throughout the hotel making clear statements against Israel’s occupation.
Although Elton John stands with Palestine during this performance, he previously performed in front of 40,000 Israelis in the city of Tel Aviv in 2016. He also had a concert in 2010 in Ramat Gan, another Israeli city, where many anti-Israel activists pressured the performer to cancel his show.
At the time, Elton John refused to boycott Israel and often showed support for the country. However, his exceptional performance for the Bethlehem crowd shows his change in perspective about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.