Israel and Palestine are essentially graffiti states. The Israelis, West Bankers and Gazans love expressing their ideas on the wall.
I will put some pictures on my blog. Some of the graffiti have cultural references, some require knowledge of certain political context. By no means do I understand or claim to understand even a small part of what one needs to know to break through complicated ideologies and sophisticated designs of selected graffiti gods. Oh, and some graffiti, believe it or not, have no idea behind them at all.
Most pictures in sections 1-6 were taken by other people. Full credit for making these pictures freely available online should go to their original photographers. I took all pictures in sections 7-10.
Israeli Graffiti #1: Military Theme
As the military service has been a regular part of life for most Israelis, military-themed graffiti are popular. The constant threat of another war is inherent in Israel, hence the images of people wearing gas masks. It seems that poking fun at the police is also natural.
Israeli & Palestinian Graffiti #2: Peace and Love Theme
To the best of my knowledge, these graffiti preaching love, peace, tolerance and reconciliation come from both Israel and the West Bank.
Palestinian Graffiti #3: Banksy’s Art
Some sources report that the British graffiti artist Banksy made only 6 graffiti in the Occupied Territories. Here are at least 13 pieces of art from the West Bank (most of them, on the Separation Wall) that are often attributed to the master’s hand.
Palestinian Graffiti #4: The West Bank Barrier
These pictures appear on the West Bank Barrier, the controversial wall separating Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Palestinian liberation struggle and its heroes, Palestinian nationalism and the desire for peace are common themes all way along the Barrier.
Israeli & Palestinian Graffiti #5: Political
I recommend that you skip these graffiti if you are easily disturbed.
Israeli Graffiti #7: Tel Aviv
Those who lived in Tel Aviv, or happened to visit the Eastern Mediterranean’s finest, should remember some of these graffiti. Found all over the city, they are less famous than Banksy’s graffiti on the West Bank barrier or other ‘sophisticated’ pictures, yet they embody the very spirit of Tel Aviv: secular, optimistic and somewhat careless.
Israeli Graffiti #8: Arab Neighbourhoods
Here are a few selected pictures from my travels in Israel and the West Bank.
Israeli Graffiti #9: Lego Policemen
These amusing graffiti of the ‘Lego policemen’ appear in various places in Tel Aviv. I see those guys every time I head to the beach.
Palestinian Graffiti #10: Dheisheh Refugee Camp
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Dheisheh Refugee camp is the 6th biggest in the West Bank with about 13,000 inhabitants. The camp was created outside of Bethlehem in 1949 to accommodate 3,400 Palestinians from 45 villages west of Jerusalem and Hebron who fled during the 1948 War.
Like another refugee camp I once visited in Tyre, Lebanon, the Dheisheh camp is very neat and tidy. Yet its streets are narrow. Accommodation is compact and tight. Apparently, 15% of houses are not connected to the central sewage.
Graffiti is everywhere in the camp. Probably, it is the highest graffiti density that I have ever seen on my travels in the Middle East thus far.
All pictures in this post are mine. Therefore, I apologise for the quality.
Palestinian Graffiti #11: Banksy in Gaza