"Make this the year YOU discover a new destination," starts a mock tourism video posted on YouTube by British street artist Banksy on Wednesday.
"Welcome to Gaza," Banksy promptly writes.
After shots of clouds filmed from a plane, the viewer is soon transported into the realities of the shattered Gaza Strip.
Banksy captures realities "well away from the tourist track": illegal tunnels into Gaza and buildings turned to rubble. With images and brief text commentary, he highlights a city devastated by bombings, and the inability of its people to rebuild since "no cement has been allowed into Gaza".
More than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the Gaza Strip in an Israeli bombardment of the occupied territory in the summer of 2014. Since a ceasefire on August 27, a lack of building materials has stalled reconstruction.
The Gaza Strip has been under blockade for the last seven years.
"The locals like it so much that they never leave," reads the text in Banksy's video, to be followed just a few seconds later by: "(Because they are not allowed to.)"
In a simple and poignant game of point and counterpoint, sarcastic short statements are soon complemented with a new sentence between brackets, explaining the actual, inhumane conditions of life in Gaza.
Gazans are "surrounded by a wall on three sides and a line of gun boats on the other", the viewer learns. They have "friendly neighbours", whose 2014 military operation "Protective Edge destroyed 18,000 homes".
Within two days of the video's release on 25 February, almost 1 million viewers had watched it on YouTube, sharing it abundantly on social media.
This is not the first time for the world-renowned artist to criticise Israel.
In December 2012, one of Banksy's earlier works caused a stir on social media. The Christmas card depicts the holy family -- Joseph and Mary -- heading towards Bethlehem, only to find their way blocked by Israel's "Separation Barrier", or "Apartheid Wall".
One of the artist's most famous works is painted on the Israeli separation wall, and depicts a young girl flying away, clasping a bunch of balloons.
Source: Ahram Online