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The British street artist Banksy has created a new outdoor piece in south London of three aircraft resembling military drones stuck to a red “stop” sign. The work, which appeared on his Instagram page as well as his official website today, does not explicitly support a particular cause, though it comes as international calls grow for a ceasefire in Gaza. According to the Guardian, the work was removed less than an hour after being erected.
The same work has also been posted on the artist’s business page, Gross Domestic Product, with a peace symbol. Banksy’s representatives declined to comment.
Banksy has a long history of working in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, first creating a number of murals on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier in 2005. The works—many of which have since been removed—include a silhouette of a girl floating upwards holding a bunch of balloons and a boy holding a bucket and spade peering through an enormous hole in the wall. In 2004, the United Nations declared Israel’s 425-mile-long wall illegal. Banksy has said the barrier “essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison”.
Other works such as Stop and Search, painted in Bethlehem in 2007 of a girl in a pink dress patting down a soldier, allude to oppressive state power while a rat holding a slingshot has been read as a protest against Israeli occupation.
In 2017, Banksy opened the Walled Off Hotel directly opposite the West Bank barrier, so all rooms look out onto slabs of concrete topped with barbed wire—“the worst view of any hotel in the world”, the artist said at the time of its opening. The hope was that the hotel would bring some much-needed tourism to the ravaged area—and expose people to the realities of living in the shadow of the wall. The guesthouse has been shut since 7 October.