Anonymous street artist Banksy wants you to travel.
The opening of the new video posted on his website shows a plane soaring on a bright blue day. “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination,” the title appears over puffy clouds.
But this plane isn’t flying to an exotic island with palm trees and rum drinks with tiny umbrellas. It’s flying to Gaza, where the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014 devastated the area. The clash erupted last June after Palestinian militants killed three Israeli teens in the West Bank; it quickly escalated and and eventually claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, wounded more than 100,000 and left roughly 300,000 people chaotically dispersed throughout Gaza, according to NBC News. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers were killed and six civilians died, according to the Israeli Army.
The nearly two-minute video plays music and light audio while showing the scene on the streets, keeping the tone of a travel ad juxtaposed with the reality of the setting. The words “The locals like it so much they never leave” is overlaid on images of children walking through a wrecked road, followed by this disclaimer: “(because they’re not allowed to).” People living on the Gaza Strip have been unable to leave due to security reasons restricting movement in and out of its bordering countrees of Egypt and Israel. The situation is compounded with the terrorist group Hamas’ control of the area for the past nine years.
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“Watched over by friendly neighbours,” flashes on the screen over an aerial view of the city. And then, “(In 2014 Operation Protective Edge destroyed 18,000 homes)” appears with images showing dilapidated buildings.
“Development opportunities are everywhere,” the fake ad raves, followed by: “(No cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing).”
The video continues to depict ruined streets under gray skies. “What about our children? What about our children?” a local says to the camera. Kids account for nearly half of Gaza’s population.
Photo Essay: In Gaza, life persists amid the rubble
The closing scene shows a statement written in blood red on a cement wall: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful — we don’t remain neutral.”