Santa's Ghetto is the brainchild of British street artist Banksy. The annual underground art show typically operates during the month of December out of a small store on Oxford Street in London. Banksy sardonically described the collaborative event as a rebellion against the "increasingly uncommercialized" spirit of Christmas. In 2007, Banksy, Sam3, Ron English, and other street artists took the event to the historic and volatile city of Bethlehem. The temporary art space was set up in an abandoned shop on Bethlehem's Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of Nativity — the supposed birthplace of Jesus. One of the pieces housed in the shop was a recreation of Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour's piece depicting an elderly farmer carrying the Old City on his back — the original was purchased by Muammar Gaddhafi and destroyed in the U.S. bombing of Tripoli in 1986. Along the path to the gallery space, the West Bank security wall was adorned with satiric and provactive graffiti art, including one of Banksy's famous rats and "Love Is in the Air," the iconic image of a street protester preparing to heave a bouquet of flowers. Mansour and other local artists questioned the decision to transform something ugly and divisive into a work of art. The aim of Santa's Ghetto, however, was not to whitewash something ugly, but rather to undermine the symbolic power of the wall and the fear inspired by the West Bank. According to Banksy, "If it is safe enough for a bunch of sissy artists then it's safe enough for anyone."
See the first series of Banksy works from Palestine, 2005