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Dressed as Queen Elizabeth, British artist holds Balfour 'apology party' for Palestinians

Friday November 3, 2017 10:24 AM, & Agencies

Balfour Apology Party
[An actor dressed up as Queen Elizabeth and Palestinian children from the Al-Aida refugee camp attend an event held by secretive British street artist Banksy to apologize for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on Wednesday at his Walled-Off Hotel in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: AFP)]

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

The typically surreal event involved 50 children hosted by an actor dressed as Queen Elizabeth II for a British-style tea party, according to AFP.

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 Elizabeth Royal.

The apology was etched into Israel's controversial separation wall, which in many areas cuts through Palestinian territory.

The children were descendants of Palestinians forced to flee their land in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.

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."

Banksy opened the Walled-Off Hotel near Bethlehem in March, with all the rooms facing directly onto Israel's separation wall.

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


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