Elton John, the British singer famous for hits like “Candle in the Wind,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, was the guest of honor at the opening ceremony of British graffiti artist Banksy’s new hotel in Bethlehem.

The famous singer recorded a special message that was played for the guests in attendance at the opening ceremony. “I would’ve loved to have been with you all tonight but you know, there wasn’t any room at the inn,” John said. The popular British singer also used the opportunity to make a political statement: “It’s my great pleasure to be playing in Palestine this evening. Please know that you are not alone. You are not forgotten.”

Banksy decided to call his establishment the Walled Off Hotel. The hotel was built in a way that all of its windows include a view of the security fence. One of the handful of rooms in the boutique hotel was designed to look like a room on a military base. Banksy’s works are also featured throughout the hotel, all of which include a clear political statement. According to Alon Lee Green, an Israeli who was invited to the opening ceremony, “there is a heavy British colonial atmosphere in the hotel and there are Palestinian employees everywhere.”

The managers of the hotel noted that the hotel is a business in addition to being an art display. The British artist wants the site to become a place where young Israelis and Palestinians will come to meet and discuss issues. The hotel will officially open next week. The nightly room rates vary from $30 to $300.

Watch Elton John’s message here:


Video by JerusalemOnline

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