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Photos: A muralist paints over Israel’s war-torn border with Gaza

EPA/Abir Sultan
One of Eliasaf’s murals in the town of Sderot, near the Israel-Gaza border.
  • Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

“Natural and sympathetic-looking.” That’s what Israeli artist Eliasaf Myara was going for when a local council commissioned him to paint murals on year-old air-raid shelters along the Israel-Gaza border.

June 8 marks the first anniversary of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, also known as “Operation Protective Edge,” which claimed the lives of 67 Israelis soldiers, 5 Israeli civilians, and more than 2,200 Palestinians. Hamas reportedly fired more than 5,000 rockets into Israeli territory (hence the shelters), while the Israeli air force carried out more than 6,000 airstrikes.

It’s not difficult to understand the desire to normalize, or perhaps beautify a war-torn landscape. These paintings call into consideration the daily lives of Israelis living within miles of one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. But Eliasaf’s efforts might also be seen as an attempt to dull the “Protective Edge.”

He is, after all, painting over reminders of a bloody conflict in which the number of casualties was absurdly one-sided. And while the public art below is refreshing, it’s worth keeping in mind that Gazans today are dealing with a landscape comparably more disrupted, and perhaps in need of something “natural and sympathetic-looking” of their own.

EPA/Abir Sultan
Israeli artist Eliasaf Myara paints a mural.
EPA/Abir Sultan
Israeli artist Eliasaf Myara paints a mural.
EPA/Abir Sultan
Israeli artist Eliasaf Myara paints a mural.
EPA/Abir Sultan
Israeli artist Eliasaf Myara paints a mural on a concrete protective shelter.
EPA/Abir Sultan
Israeli children sit next to a concrete protective shelter.
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli girl places tables next to a concrete protective shelter.
EPA/Abir Sultan
A Israeli girl passes a concrete protective shelter.
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli women waits for a bus next to a shelter in Sderot.
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli helps his son to ride a bicycle next to a shelter in Sderot.
EPA/Abir Sultan
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli man rides his bicycle past a shelter in the city of Sderot.
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli man walks past a shelter in the village of Sharsheret.
EPA/Abir Sultan
A shelter in the village of Shokeda.
EPA/Abir Sultan
A young Israeli plays next to a shelter at a school in the town of Gan Yavne near the southern city of Ashdod.
EPA/Abir Sultan
Young Israelis play next a shelter painted at a school in the town Gan Yavne.
EPA/Abir Sultan
An Israeli soldier walks next to a shelter surrounding a kindergarten in the Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

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