British street artist Banksy has offered a royal “apology” engraved on Israel’s illegal Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem for the Balfour Declaration.
The work was unveiled on the eve of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration at a mock tea party for Palestinian children at the artist’s Walled Off Hotel.
Israel views the document, issued in 1917 by British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour, as having opened the way for its creation in 1948. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to attend a celebratory banquet with British leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May, this evening in Lancaster House.
Palestinians have demanded the UK apologise for a declaration which led to the expulsion of some one million Palestinians. However the UK has refused to do so with May saying she is proud of UK-Israel relations and the Balfour Declaration.
In Banksy’s latest offering, “Er … Sorry” has been written on the wall. ER, standing for Elizabeth Regina, with the Roman numerals II between the two letters, is Queen Elizabeth’s royal cipher.
The point was hammered home at the event by having an actor dressed as the monarch pulling back a red curtain that covered the etching. A statement issued by Banksy said the work was commissioned from a professional stone carver whose previous credits include Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.
“This conflict has brought so much suffering to people on all sides, it didn’t feel appropriate to ‘celebrate’ the British role in it,” the statement said.