August 4, 2017 / 10:47 AM / in 4 months

Bethlehem graffiti lampoons Trump embrace of Israeli wall

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the Mexican border may be a tall order, but at least he has left his mark on the Israeli security barrier that he has promoted as a model.

A man takes a photo of a graffiti depicting U.S President Donald Trump on the controversial Israeli barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma

On the concrete barricades erected by Israel around parts of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, giant spray-painted images of Trump have given constricted Palestinians some comic relief.

“I‘m going to build you a brother,” the U.S. leader tells the wall in one mural. In another, he hugs an Israeli army watch-tower, with heart-shaped emojis added alongside paint splashes and soot stains left by Palestinian demonstrations.

The artist, who goes by the alias @LushSux and who Australian media have said comes from Melbourne, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published a transcript of a conversation in which Trump pressured Mexico not to publicly oppose his plan to have it pay for a border wall that he says is needed to stop illegal immigration to the United States. [ID:nL1N1KP0QH]

“You know, you look at Israel – Israel has a wall and everyone said do not build a wall, walls do not work — 99.9 percent of people trying to come across that wall cannot get across and more,” Trump told Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, according to the transcript of the phone call in January.

“Bibi Netanyahu told me the wall works,” he added, using Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname.

The Bethlehem wall has become a showcase of protest art voicing Palestinians’ fears that Israel’s West Bank fence-and-concrete barrier is a land grab that may deny them a state. Israelis deem the project a bulwark against Palestinian attack.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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