Skip to main content

Gaza children’s artwork removed from London hospital

UK Lawyers for Israel filed complaint saying artwork made some Jewish patients feel 'vulnerable and victimised'
Friends during the funeral of Palestinian child Lian al-Shaer, after she succumbed to injuries sustained in Israeli air strikes, in Khan Younis in Gaza on 11 August 2022 (AFP)

A London hospital has taken down a display of artwork designed by Palestinian schoolchildren from Gaza after complaints by a British pro-Israel charity.

According to a statement by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), the hospital was compelled to remove the artwork following a complaint by the NGO on behalf of a number of Jewish patients, “who said that they felt vulnerable and victimised by this display”.

The artwork contained a display of decorated plates, along with illustrations of their significance. Entitled “Crossing Borders – a festival of Plates”, the display was shown by the entrance to the children’s outpatients’ department at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

It was designed by children at two schools run by UNRWA in Gaza and transferred onto the plates by children at the Chelsea Community Hospital school. The caption for one of the display plates was: “The olive branch is the symbol of peace and is used to express the wish for an independent Palestinian state.” 

The group said: “The drawings from Gaza all appear to be professional artwork, in the same style, and carried out by the same person,” although it was said to have been designed by children at the Beit Lahia Girls’ School and the Jabalia Prep Boys’ A School in Gaza.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


UKLFI said in the complaint that some of the artwork displayed Palestine as covering the entire area of Israel.

Another description of a plate says: “The olive branch is the symbol of peace and is used to express the wish for an independent Palestinian state."

“However, the picture on the plate accompanying the text shows the Dome of the Rock with a large Palestinian flag, implying that Jerusalem and in particular the site of what had been the Jewish Temple, would be part of a Palestinian state,” UKLFI said. The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque are located in East Jerusalem, an area designated as Israeli-occupied territory in international law since 1967.

Israel has imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza since Hamas won legislative elections in 2006. The siege and several Israeli military operations against Gaza have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, and left many suffering post-traumatic stress disorders. 

UKLFI claimed that the young students at the two Gaza schools had been taught with Hamas ideology embedded within their curriculum.

“The fact that adults could find a piece of artwork done by children intimidating, that an outfit such as the UKLFI could move to issue a complaint, and finally for the hospital to actually remove the artwork, is utterly bizarre,” said Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation, a UK-based research group.

Middle East Eye has reached out to the Chelsea and Westminster hospital for comment.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.